Friday, February 23, 2018

Standard Deviation - Book Review

Standard Deviation - Katherine Heiny B+

Published: May 2017
I loved Katherine Heiny’s short story collection, Single, Carefree, Mellow (2015)- it was scandalously delicious. Standard Deviation, Heiny’s debut novel (she’s published numerous YA novels under pen names) is full of charm and wit. I am always impressed when a novel that is meant to be funny, is funny. But, what I found most intriguing about Standard Deviation is the quiet and subtle portrait of a marriage in semi-crisis.

Graham, a 56-year-old venture capitalist is married to Audra who is 15 years younger. Audra was Graham’s mistress prior to divorcing his first wife, Elspeth. Elspeth was the prototypical (and misunderstood) starter wife. Graham and Elspeth never had kids. Graham and Audra have a 10-year-old son, Matthew.

Now, imagine if your current wife/former mistress wanted to be close friends with your ex-wife. I suppose it's not out of the realm of possibility; but, it's definitely not ideal.

I absorbed these characters, especially Graham. Each of them felt like people I know, I’ve known, or I'd like to know. The story is well-crafted. There is no over-the-top drama and basically no plot. Nevertheless, it's an entertaining look at marriage, exes, emotional infidelity and how easily the lines are blurred.  

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