Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny
I have to be honest, I am finding it hard to look at my phone at the moment. Watching the news whilst doing mundane tasks seems ridiculous – they are talking about nuclear war, the displacement of millions, death & destruction but here I am thinking about dinner. Books have become my refuge (what’s new) and my mind needs a break.
Well standard deviation was that and more. I laughed and laughed with this one, there is a wry wit that suffuses the narration so at times I was chortling, at others bellowing. It’s really light, but moving and for anyone else looking for a distraction this is a contender- the Observer called it a comedic masterpiece and another paper warned not to read it on the train as “people will stare whilst you roll on the floor, howling”.
Published in 2017, we follow Graham, his second wife Audra and their young son Matthew. Audra is a whirlwind, befriending everyone in her path compared to the reserved Graham who reminded me a bit of Henry Higgins from My Fair Lady. The novel also features themes of neurodiversity as Matthew has Aspergers and amidst the humour there is a profound and moving exploration of his struggles in society.
The reviews of this range wildly from “funniest book I have ever read” to “vacuous and slow”, there isn’t much of a plot but I have to be honest, I personally found the characters endearing and I couldn’t wait to see how they handled the re-entry of Graham’s first wife. What made the book for me were the many acutely sharp observations of marriage and life running through the prose. If you have read this I would LOVE to know what you thought of it!
Thank you Sar, one of my most beloved mates, for marching into my house and insisting I read it as a matter of urgency. You were right, it’s hilarious ~ Chaya.
Order your copy of ‘Standard Deviation’ here.