The Journal of Best Practices
A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband
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.
An Asperger's Diagnosis Transforms One Couple's Marriage
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Read an Excerpt
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 least. Strangely, it was rather empowering to discover that I had this particular condition. In fact, the diagnosis ultimately changed my life... see more
Reading Group Guide
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