Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book Review: The Journal of Best Practices by David Finch

Title: The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband
Author: David Finch
Enjoyment Rating:
This book would be rated: ****
Source: Personal copy

As the parent of a child with Asperger's, I often wonder what is in store for his future. Will he move out of the house (now that he's in junior high, I'm confident this will happen)? Go to college (also a yes)? Get a job (still not convinced)? Marry someone? Stay married to that person? In The Journal of Best Practices David Finch explores what it's like for a person with Asperger's (in his case, diagnosed as an adult, although he seems at least as Aspie as my kid) to flounder in a marriage and then try to turn it around.

Finch has a way with words, and he tells his story in a way that I wanted to keep reading. I'd heard him interviewed about his experience on This American Life several months ago, and I think that my initial desire to read the book was so I could hand it to Bryce and his future wife (if he ends up with a wife) to help them through the inevitable difficulties that Asperger's places on a marriage. But that wasn't why I kept reading. I kept reading because I saw so much of my own marriage, and all marriages, in Finch's marriage. And I saw that when one partner really works at overcoming their shortcomings and being a better husband/wife, it can really turn things around for the whole relationship. It was fun to follow along with Finch's "best practices." I love that he was unself-conscious enough to write honestly about both the man he was before he embarked on his quest, and his failures along the way. 

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