Earlier today I finished The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband.
If you’re unfamiliar with Asperger Syndrome, here’s a short explanation from wiki:
… characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and atypical use of language are frequently reported.
This book has a cloying sweetness to it that would soften the hearts of anyone in a long term commitment. David Finch is introduced as a young man who has married his lifelong sweetheart, Kristen. Portrayed as the ever-patient wife who got more than she asked for, Kristen sits down with David at the start of the book and talks him through a checklist for asperger syndrome. She thinks he has it. After getting officially diagnosed, David goes on his own personal mission to improve his social skills and save his marriage. The “Journal of Best Practices” are notes on the backs of receipts and scraps of paper that he throws into his nightstand or taps around the house. Little things that his wife tells him he could improve upon, little things he picks up from his interactions with her and his children.
“Laundry: Better to fold and put away than to take only what you need from the dryer.” – David Finch
The more you read, the more you realize that many of the things David fights to learn are lessons that any reader could use. Helping your partner so they can have an easier life, listening to your partner instead of offering up solutions, being there, being an active part of a relationship, having fun and being able to let loose. Though David has an internal struggle with a lot of the lessons he learns and has a difficulty in remembering a lot of things that we may consider natural, the book is a great example of a man who sees his flaws and works to improve upon them.
If you’re looking for a sweet story of love, personal improvement, or if you’re looking to improve your understanding of how asperger syndrome may function in a relationship, this is a good read.
Related: I stumbled upon http://aspiealligator.tumblr.com/ – The moderators have autism and aside from posting memes it looks like they also answer questions.