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

David Finch. Scribner, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4391-8971-9
Few people would consider the moment they are diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome as a positive moment in their life, but for Finch it was a blessing in disguise. At the point he found out about his condition, which he describes as “a relatively mild form of autism,” his five-year marriage to his wife, Kristen, was crumbling under the weight of his idiosyncrasies (“lining certain items up,” “lightly touching objects in a particular way,” needing “things to go as planned”) that controlled Finch’s daily life and made it impossible for him to be the type of father and husband he or his family wanted him to be. But after gaining an understanding of what he needed to “overcome,” Finch, who wrote a well-received article for the New York Times about his disorder, begins the long process of learning how to manage the “egocentricity” and “relationship-defeating behaviors” associated with Asperger’s. Finch’s main weapon in his fight against his own brain is what he calls “The Journal of Best Practices,” a notebook in which he keeps track of concepts, hints, lessons, and reflections that help him deal with and even conquer the manifestations of his disorder. In relating his story, Finch is compellingly honest, a trait that works well with his self-deprecating humor. There are points when the “best practices” are repetitive, but of course that is the nature of Asperger’s syndrome, and Finch’s ability to put his experiences on paper will no doubt help more people—and families—understand this oft-misunderstood disorder. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 09/19/2011
Release date: 01/03/2012
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Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4391-8975-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-0743-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-4526-5743-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-3743-3
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