The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome and One Man’s Quest to be a Better Husband by David Finch
Published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
When your wife bursts into tears – unhappy tears – as you’re celebrating your third wedding anniversary, it typically means your marriage isn’t going well. After that, plus another two years of resentment and lack of communication, David Finch is surprised when his wife lovingly wraps her arms around him, and suggests he come down and join her in her office in the basement when he is finished with his evening routine. Once down there, she begins to give him a quiz, a quiz which seems to describe him perfectly. It isn’t until she is finished that she reveals that this quiz is an online diagnostic for Asperger Syndrome, which David fairly conclusively seems to have. Instead of being a blow, however, this news seems inspiring to David: it isn’t that he’s just a bad husband and father, his brain functions a different way than the brains of most of the people around him, which hinders his understanding of those people. Although David can’t simply take a pill for his Asperger Syndrome to mitigate it, as he can for his ADD, but he can begin to change his habits, based on an understanding of how his brain chemistry differs from that of the people around him. It is from this, and his quest to finally become a better husband and father that the Journal of Best Practices is born.
The Journal of Best Practices is a fascinating book, not least because of how honest and self-deprecating Finch is. He is remarkably open about his own foibles and shortcomings. The steps he takes to overcome them are often humorous and always interesting. This is not a traditional, chronological memoir, but an anecdote-based series of experiences and attempts to overcome obstacles.
Really, Finch’s method of self-improvement for the good of his relationships is one that could be successful for anyone, whether you have Asperger Sydrome or not. His desire to be the person his family needs him to be is inspiring, and his story has wide appeal, whether you are interested in marriage, Asperger Syndrome, or whether you just wish your husband would would help get the kids ready in the morning once in awhile.
Source: Publisher, at the GLIBA trade show.
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