The Journal of Best Practices by David Finch – Book Review

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.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher, at the GLIBA trade show.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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All I Can Handle, I’m No Mother Theresa by Kim Stagliano – Book Review

All I Can Handle, I’m No Mother Theresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism by Kim Stagliano
Published by Skyhorse Publishing

If you can’t tell from the title of the book, Kim Stagliano is in the unique and unenviable far more common than I realized and unenviable, to many, position of having three daughters who have autism, a condition which more typically affects boys. This, combined with her husband’s incredibly bad luck with employment – he had a tendency for many years to take employment with companies who would not have a need for him after a short amount of time – has made life in the Stagliano household a bit chaotic. Kim has a very pragmatic attitude towards her life, however. She makes the point that autism (and unemployment, for that matter) don’t take time off, so neither can she, really as a mother you just do what you have to do.

“All I Can Handle, I’m No Mother Theresa” could have easily been one giant downer between the challenges of raising three daughters with pretty severe autism (one daughter gets lost twice in a single family trip, panicking Kim both times) and having multiple job losses and financial crises. However, enough of Stagliano’s wit and humor shines through, keeping the book, well, perhaps not light, but at least not depressing.

Anyone interested in autism or the lives of families living with autism would do well to pick up “All I Can Handle, I’m No Mother Theresa.” You may not agree with everything Stagliano says and believes (there is a LOT of controversy around autism issues), but you will absolutely learn a lot.

Buy this book from:
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound.*

This review was done with a book received from the publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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