Standard deviation; book review. 

Standard deviation. By Katherine Heiny. Release date 1st June 2017. 

Graham Cavanaugh’s second wife, Audra, is everything his first wife was not. She considers herself priveleged to live in the age of the hair towel, talks non-stop through her epidural, labour and delivery, invites the doorman to move in, and the eccentric members of their son’s origami club to Thanksgiving. 

She is charming and spontaneous and fun, but life with her can be exhausting. In the midst of day-to-day difficulties and delights of marriage and raising a child with Asperger’s, his first wife m, Elspeth, re-enters Graham’s life.  

Former spouses are hard to categorise – are they friends m, enemies, old flames, or just people who you know really, really well? 

Graham starts to wonder. How can anyone love two such different women? Did he make the right choice? Is there a right choice? 

Graham, who is a quite unremarkable man, leads quite a remarkable life. 

Once married to Elspeth, a calm, sensible, ordered woman, he is now married to Audra, and they have a ten year old son – Matthew – who has Aspergers. 

Audra is the complete opposite of Elspeth, she is an absolute whirlwind of a person, vivacious and chatty. The kind of person who will make friends with absolute strangers in the grocery store and invite them to dinner, or even to move in. Audra converses as easily as she breathes, she’d be exhausting to live with but fun to read about. 

I wouldn’t mind being a little more like Audra myself. 

Standard deviation is not a book with a plot, I found myself waiting for the hook, wondering where this adventure would take me, and then realising that there was no big event about to happen, this book is more like looking in on a family, big-brother style, nothing grand happens and yet you can’t stop watching. 

Standard deviation has a whole host of interesting characters and the real joy of this book is in the character observation. Katherine Heiny writes about people so well, like someone who spends a lot of time watching people. 

If you’re the kind of person who’ll sit in a coffee shop watching someone and wondering who they are, and perhaps making your own little back story up for them (or is that just me?) then I think you’ll enjoy Standard deviation, because it’s about people, their eccentricities, their quirks, how their behaviour deviates from what is considered normal. 

I really did enjoy this book, once I’d come to terms with the fact that there wasn’t a plot as such, and I found myself deeply disappointed when I got to the last page. I do believe I could have gone on and on reading about Audra. 

If I could give half stars I’d give 3 and a half but as I can’t I’m giving it a four out of five, because the writing is lively – almost like a long conversation, with touching moments, the social commentary is on point, and there were some scenes that genuinely made me laugh. Particularly those involving the origami club. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Standard deviation is definitely one to look out for, released on 1st June 2017, available to pre-order on Amazon.

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