The Journal of Best Practices
A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband
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, 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 with an endearing yet hilarious zeal. His methods for improving his marriage involve excessive note-taking, performance reviews, and most of all, the Journal of Best Practices: a collection of hundreds of maxims and hard-won epiphanies, including “Don’t change the radio station when she’s singing along” and “Apologies do not count when you shout them.” Over the course of two years, David transforms himself from the world’s most trying husband to the husband who tries the hardest. He becomes 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.
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