Tuesday, August 14, 2012

September's Pick

The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband by David Finch

At some point in nearly every marriage, a wife finds herself asking, What the @#!% is wrong with my husband?! In David Finch’s case, this turns out to be an apt question. Five years after he married Kristen, the love of his life, they learn that he has Asperger syndrome. The diagnosis explains David’s ever-growing list of quirks and compulsions, his lifelong propensity to quack and otherwise melt down in social exchanges, and his clinical-strength inflexibility. But it doesn’t make him any easier to live with.

Determined to change, David sets out to understand Asperger syndrome and learn to be a better husband— no easy task for a guy whose inability to express himself rivals his two-year-old daughter’s, who thinks his responsibility for laundry extends no further than throwing things in (or at) the hamper, and whose autism-spectrum condition makes seeing his wife’s point of view a near impossibility.
Nevertheless, David devotes himself to improving his marriage with an endearing yet hilarious zeal that involves excessive note-taking, performance reviews, and most of all, the Journal of Best Practices: a collection of hundreds of maxims and hard-won epiphanies that result from self-reflection both comic and painful. They include “Don’t change the radio station when she’s singing along,” “Apologies do not count when you shout them,” and “Be her friend, first and always.” Guided by the Journal of Best Practices, David transforms himself over the course of two years from the world’s most trying husband to the husband who tries the hardest, the husband he’d always meant to be.
Filled with humor and surprising wisdom, The Journal of Best Practices is a candid story of ruthless self-improvement, a unique window into living with an autism-spectrum condition, and proof that a true heart can conquer all.

3 comments:

Lauri said...

It was nice to read a "true non fiction." Having both a niece and nephew with aspergers it gave me an opportunity to see a little inside their heads. It also made me realize how much we take things like empathy and reading facial expressions for granted. I enjoyed the book. The author made the book not just about aspergers but also gave advice everyone in a relationship could use. "Use your words"

Quote: "I assumed at the time that it meant I was sort of artistic, rather than sort of autistic, but as it turns out, I’m both."

Linda said...

I loved this book. I think the author did a great job of giving us a glimpse into his world and how it affects those he is closest to.Like Lauri, I think his journal will help everyone with relationships, not just people with Aspergers.

There were a ton of favorite quotes but my two favorites are:

Nothing staves off a beating from jocks like a toothy smile and an energetic display of "jazz hands." pg 22

and

I nodded and wrote down "swallowing anger = swallowing poison." The other problem with saying "Forget it," she told me, was that I wasn't someone who knew how to forget about things that were bothering me. I took another note: "She is onto you."

Lucinda said...

I am picking this book for my choice here in Ohio. Miss you all!