I first heard of this book while listening to All Things Considered on NPR, as they interviewed author David Finch and his wife, Kristen. The conversation was so captivating that I requested a copy of the book as soon as we purchased it.
The Finch’s marriage had been tanking and their communication was abysmal, until one day Kristen, a speech therapist and autism expert, sat her husband down and asked him to honestly answer a series of seemingly strange questions. His score and its meaning surprised him, so Kristen offered to answer the same quiz and scored 8 out of a possible 200 points. Finch had earned 155 points, suggesting that he had Asperger Syndrome, a condition on the Autism spectrum.
While most people might feel set back by such a diagnosis, it was freeing for Finch. The problems that he was having in both his work and personal life had a name, and that emboldened him to make a conscientious effort to fix those problems.
Finch took notes on everything he needed to change about himself, notes that eventually became his Journal of Best Practices. Each best practice became a chapter in the book, and prompted him to remember things such as:
• laundry: better to fold and put away than to take only what you need from the dryer,
• give Kristen time to shower without crowding her, and
• parties are supposed to be fun.
A lifestyle change is never easy, and this one was no exception. Some best practices were larger than others, and all took continued work on the part of Finch, and exceptional patience on the part of Kristen.
Finch tells his story with humor and grace, pointing out his flaws and showing how he worked through them. This is a really interesting (and fairly quick) read, and one that definitely helped me better understand Asperger Syndrome.