Set in modern Manhattan, this is a slice-of-life look at a comfortably well-off family with three totally different personalities.
The realisation that Audra and Graham’s son, Matthew, is on the autism spectrum is subtly inferred and more is made of his love for origami, which is his special interest, than his Asperger traits in general.
Heiny, however, does use Matthew’s quirks to highlight the differences between chatty, social Audra and the more reticent, buttoned-down Graham.
She also captures the sweetness and joy that can come with parenting a special needs child along with the puzzlement and worry.
In the end, though, Standard Deviation is as much a novel about the vagaries of marriage and how important it is to “push on through” together as it is about parenting, let alone parenting a special needs child.
It’s an enjoyable and accessible read, splashed with humour and perceptive insights, and likely to be enjoyed by bookclubs.