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The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband Paperback – October 9, 2012
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The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband
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This is a great story, a memoir of an experiment in which the author, recently diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, works really, really hard on his marriage and his role as a husband and father of two young children. As an engineer, he believes that if he can apply the same dedication and to his marriage that he has historically applied to his job (in which he is very successful), he can achieve success and happiness in his personal life as well. It's written in a tender, honest, and humorous style, and is worth the read not just for those of us who are interested in AS, but for anyone who would enjoy the story of a man overcoming obstacles and prevailing.
It is of note that although the author always knew that he was different from other people, he never knew that he had AS until after he was married and his problems began to destroy his marriage. His wife, who is a speech therapist, helped his to suspect this diagnosis, which was then verified by medical professionals.
We only see his wife through his eyes, but this is her story too, and in many ways, this book is his love letter to her.
I chose this book to read because my husband is quite eccentric with many problems similar to the author's, and although he does not currently have an AS diagnosis (and probably never will), I thought it would be interesting to see how someone who was not neurologically typical and who is very articulate about himself views life. It was indeed a fascinating read.
The author is to be commended for working very hard on his marriage and being so generous to share about it in this memoir; his wife is a delight and a joy to love her husband deeply and with strong boundaries. This couple figured out how to get through life together and be happy. If you'd like to read about how they did that, and you'd like to see the world through the eyes of someone with AS, you will certainly enjoy this book.
One other note: I have decided against purchasing many other AS books because the reviews or description made them sound like a self-help kind of book that was supposed to help me understand my husband, learn to forgive him, suck it up and live with far less expectations, and save my marriage. Hogwash. I did NOT want to save my marriage and was not looking for a book that would help do so. In fact when I purchased this book I purchased several on divorce at the same time. My only purpose in getting this book was to hopefully learn something that might enable me to talk to my husband for more than 10 seconds without being screamed at. We have 2 children together and even divorced we would need to talk to each other. I just wanted to be able to talk constructively occasionally, and perhaps limit a little of the abuse. In honestly my AS husband seems like a real jerk... selfish with no empathy or compassion. He lives in his own world and cares nothing (seemingly anyway) for anyone but himself. His behavior can be incredibly odd, he never lifts a finger to help me but constantly complains that I do to much. Basically he is everything you do not want in a husband...the absolute opposite in every way of hardworking, gentle, affectionate, loving and kind. He is a verbally abusive alcoholic and after 26 years of this our children are grown and I am done. Well... maybe not quite done. The book, even though I didn't want it to, made me see some things I didn't see before, primarily just how difficult life is for those with AS. I thought I understood before that they didn't do things to hurt people but simply didn't know any better (sounds good but difficult to believe when being very personally attacked), but perhaps there is more to it than that. I suppose that the author, by being so forthcoming about his own feelings and struggles, gave me hope that men with AS can adapt themselves to living with NT's if they want to bad enough. Will my husband be willing to work a fraction as hard as the author did? We'll see, but for now at least I know that a man with AS IS capable of caring. That's huge. If they can care, and maybe my husband does care somewhere deep inside his strangely wired brain and seemingly missing heart, there's a glimmer of hope that he will care enough to try. Lord knows I am willing to help... and I do have a little patience left.
I think that David did an excellent job of giving an inside view of what living with a spectrum diagnosis, is really like. Past that, I think he did an excellent job of discussing ways that anyone can create a stronger marriage, regardless of whether a diagnosis is present. I am impressed with the way he handled receiving a diagnosis, as it isn't always easy to handle. The fact that he thought it was kind of cool, warmed my heart. I hope to read more from him!
*I received this item complimentary for review purposes. All opinions are my own*