Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny – Rare Birds Book Club


Regular readers of my blog will know that I am partial to a bookish subscription box. I love receiving surprise book post so with this in mind I purchased a three month subscription from Rare Birds Book Club this month. Rare Birds is a book club that champions female authors and female-led titles and for £10 a month you get a book delivered to your door, wrapped up nicely with a little card to tell you why it was chosen. The book for July was Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny, which was a book and author I was unfamiliar with, so I was looking forward to discovering a new writer.

Standard Deviation is described as being a family comedy which isn’t necessarily the type of book I would pick up normally but it didn’t take me long at all to get into this story and I finished it within a day. This is the story of a husband and wife who live together in New York, raising their 10 year old son. And this couple appear to be polar opposites. Audra is an energetic and outgoing woman who can seemingly start a conversation with anyone, anywhere. In contrast, her husband Graham, who is fifteen years Audra’s senior, is a little more reserved. And we get the impression that he feels a little awkward sometimes when Audra chats away, with no social filter, resulting in some unconventional conversations and extra guests at the Thanskgiving table. Graham notices the differences between him and his wife even more when he becomes reacquainted with his first wife, Elspeth, who again is the opposite of Audra. As Graham and Audra try to navigate family life together, Graham is left to consider his relationships with the women he loves, and how he came to love two very different people.

Standard Deviation is an enjoyable read which tells the story of family life with humour and emotion. It was interesting finding out more about these characters and their relationships with one and other, as their stories progress, and they cope with everything life throws at them. It is a book that captures everyday life, the daily routines, and the challenges along the way. This includes everything from the mundane household tasks through to the care of their son, Matthew, who has Aspergers. Their story was well written, and filled with poignant moments as well as those that make you laugh. There are numerous amusing moments in this book, and witty observations of the trials of modern life. And amongst it all is a man and his love for his wife, and for his son, as he considers the choices he has made in the past, the adversities his family have faced, and the future they look forward to. I enjoyed following the characters on their journey, and there were some unexpected moments along the way that had me hooked till the end, and had me wondering what Audra would get up to next!

Standard Deviation is an entertaining and perceptive read about family life and I am glad to have discovered it. I have another two books ordered from Rare Birds Book Club so will share and review them as I get them. If you would like to find out more about Rare Birds and to get a subscription for yourself, you can visit their website here.

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