Fall Read: Standard Deviation

According to my tracker on Goodreads, I am three books behind on my 2017 reading challenge of finishing 32 books. While I definitely feel as though I have been reading a lot, recent life changes have also shifted my reading habits. I’m looking for more short reads, like the amazing Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny, to help me finish my reading goal. I’m currently halfway through three other books, and I suppose I will have to wrap those up eventually. Standard Deviation though, was a really great read.

I read Heiny‘s collection of short stories Single, Carefree, Mellow last year and really enjoyed it. When her latest book was released it piqued my interest. I put myself on the library hold list, waited, retrieved it for my turn and then promptly gobbled it up.

The story is told from the perspective of Graham examining his life and marriage to his second wife Audra, who seems to be quite the opposite of Graham. To me, she is an unlikeable character just based on how much she talks and talks and talks to people. Graham appears to get frustrated with her too and the seemingly endless line of random houseguests. It’s also very frustrating when Audra (SPOILER ALERT) tries to befriend Graham’s first wife Elspeth. Audra is a believable character though, and I’m sure I’ve met people who never cease speaking and can always find some connection to you through their dentist’s gardener’s niece.

What I really enjoyed about this book is that the characters are original and also believable. Even the scenarios that may seem unlikely, such as an origami club of middle-aged men keen to keep Graham and Audra’s son in their company, yet they could very well happen in real life. Also I enjoy books that examine relationships and their complexity and evolution. The movement of the relationship between Graham and his first wife is told in waves. Some days she blows hot, some days she blows cold. In the end, I enjoyed how real this work of fiction appeared.

If you’re looking for a quick read to mix up your fall to-be-read list, definitely find Standard Deviation or even Single, Carefree, Mellow. It’s worth the wait from the library if you choose to borrow them. If you’re liking books on relationships like me, also check out Modern Lovers by Emma Straub or Landline by Rainbow Rowell.

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