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The Journal of Best Practices

The Journal of Best Practices

A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband

  • reading group guide
  • bestseller
  • customer reviews
  • freshman reading
At some point in nearly every marriage, a wife finds herself asking, What the @#!% is wrong with my husband?! In David Finch’s case, this turns out to be an apt question. Five years after he married Kristen, the love of his life, they learn that he has Asperger syndrome. The diagnosis explains David’s ever-growing list of quirks and compulsions, his lifelong propensity to quack and otherwise melt down in social exchanges, and his clinical-strength inflexibility. But it doesn’t make him any easier to live with.

Determined to change, David sets out to understand Asperger syndrome and learn to be a better husband— no easy task for a guy whose inability to express himself rivals his two-year-old daughter’s, who thinks his responsibility for laundry extends no further than throwing things in (or at) the hamper, and whose autism-spectrum condition makes seeing his wife’s point of view a near impossibility.

Nevertheless, David devotes himself to improving his marriage with an endearing yet hilarious zeal that involves excessive note-taking, performance reviews, and most of all, the Journal of Best Practices: a collection of hundreds of maxims and hard-won epiphanies that result from self-reflection both comic and painful. They include “Don’t change the radio station when she’s singing along,” “Apologies do not count when you shout them,” and “Be her friend, first and always.” Guided by the Journal of Best Practices, David transforms himself over the course of two years from the world’s most trying husband to the husband who tries the hardest, the husband he’d always meant to be.

Filled with humor and surprising wisdom, The Journal of Best Practices is a candid story of ruthless self-improvement, a unique window into living with an autism-spectrum condition, and proof that a true heart can conquer all.
Choose a format:
  • Scribner | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439189719 | 
  • January 2012
List Price $25.00
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Video

An Asperger's Diagnosis Transforms One Couple's Marriage

David and Kristen Finch discuss the effect that David's Asperger Syndrome diagnosis had on their family and their marriage.

Read an Excerpt

The Journal of Best Practices Introduction
Do all that you can to be worthy of her love.

I was thirty years old and had been married five years when I learned that I have Asperger syndrome, a relatively mild form of autism. My wife, Kristen, a speech therapist and autism expert, brought it to my attention one evening after harboring suspicions for years.

Receiving such a diagnosis as an adult might seem shocking and unsettling. It wasn’t. Eye-opening, yes. Life-changing, yes. But not distressing in the... see more

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Journal of Best Practices includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with David and Kristen Finch. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

Filled with humor and surprising insight, The Journal of Best Practices is David Finch’s personal and candid exploration of his quest to become a better husband—in spite of and aided by his Asperger syndrome. Faced with the failings of his marriage, David embarks on a ruthless self-improvement plan full of note-taking, spousal performance reviews, and a running journal of the ways in which he can be a better partner, a better father, and a better man. A unique and moving look into life on the autism spectrum, David’s is a story that shows it’s never too late to change, and that love—with the right amount of hard work—can conquer all.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. “I was thirty years old and had been married five years when I learned that I have Asperger syndrome, a relatively mild form of autism.” Discuss this opening scene in which Kristen asks David a series of questions from an Asperger’s evaluation test. How does th see more

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