Standard Deviation

Knopf. May 2017. 320p. ISBN 9780385353816. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385353823. F
Manhattan husband and father Graham Cavanaugh knows that he shouldn't compare his second wife, Audra, to first wife, Elspeth, but the contrast is too pronounced to ignore. Audra is always socializing and insisting that Graham participate even as he wistfully yearns for his more orderly existence with Elspeth. Yet, life with Graham and Audra's son, Matthew, a middle schooler with Asperger's, necessitates a wide social safety net, whether with Matthew's origami club members or with the few friends he makes at school. Graham simply can't revert to his Elspeth days but must jump on the crazy train with vivacious Audra and enjoy the ride. In this debut novel, (after the short story collection Single, Carefree, Mellow), Heiny handles the sensitive material with a deft, always humorous touch.
VERDICT Contemporary fiction fans fond of urban settings and humor in the vein of Nora Ephron or Nick Hornsby should appreciate this tale of city life and marriage, while those searching for characters on the Asperger's spectrum could find young Matthew, portrayed as high functioning but challenging, authentic and recognizable as he navigates various connections with his parents and others. [See Prepub Alert, 11/14/16.]
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing