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cover75774-smallI read A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart earlier this year. It was OK, but I wasn’t in love with the character of the father and found him to be selfish and needing to grow up more than his son. Standard Deviation’s viewpoint character is a father with a son with autism and a more likeable and caring father you’d be hard pushed to find.

Graham is married to his second wife, Audra, a woman to whom saying good morning is likely to get you an invite to dinner and an active interest in your affairs. She has an almost childlike quality to her, saying what she things, seeing everyone as a potential friend. Together, Audra and Graham discover their son has an interest in origami and take him to a weekly origami club where he makes friends for the first time in his life. The fact that these friends are all adult matters not to Matthew and his parents see the same characteristics in these grown ups as in their son. They are outsiders, innocents, and utterly obsessed with folding bits of paper.

When Graham’s first wife Elizabeth re-enters his life, things start to get complicated and Audra, who couldn’t be more different from Elizabeth, tries to make her a part of their family.

That, really, is all that happens in this wonderful, funny book. Rather than relying on a fast driven plot, Ms. Heiny gives us an affectionate character study which details the small changes that can happen in anyone’s life.

I loved all the characters. The author always stayed on the right side of caricature while creating characters that are so much larger than life. The sensible Graham grounds the others, rooting them all to reality, and making them totally believable.

This is a lovely, funny book that left me smiling. Recommended.