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Publisher's Summary

A divinely funny novel from the celebrated author of Single, Carefree, Mellow about the challenges of a good marriage, the delight and heartache of raising children, and the irresistible temptation to wonder about the path not taken.

When Graham Cavanaugh divorced his first wife, it was to marry his girlfriend, Audra, a woman as irrepressible as she is spontaneous and fun. But, Graham learns, life with Audra can also be exhausting, constantly interrupted by chatty phone calls, picky-eater houseguests, and invitations to weddings of people he's never met. Audra firmly believes that through the sheer force of her personality, she can overcome the most socially challenging interactions, shepherding her son through awkward playdates and origami club, and even deciding to establish a friendship with Graham's first wife, Elspeth. Graham isn't sure he understands why Audra longs to be friends with the woman he divorced. After all, former spouses are hard to categorize - are they enemies, old flames, or just people you know really, really well? And as Graham and Audra share dinners, holidays, and late glasses of wine with his first wife, he starts to wonder: how can anyone love two such different women? Did I make the right choice? Is there a right choice?

A hilarious and rueful debut novel of love, marriage, infidelity, and origami, Standard Deviation never deviates from the superb.

©2017 Katherine Heiny (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Audra Daltry is a singular creation - a character so funny, so appealing, so sure that she can change the world for her family that she will jump right off the page and take up permanent residence in your heart. Standard Deviation is a marvel." (Kate Atkinson, author of Life After Life )
" Standard Deviation is a winning effort that smartly examines the ties that bind in even the most unlikely of marriages...Heiny's gift for quick-witted dialogue displays the skill of an observational comic.... Provides a consistent flow of humor. With its assortment of quirky characters who stumble through life even as, to all outward appearances, many of them should have it mastered, Standard Deviation bears a certain resemblance to the work of Anne Tyler." ( Shelf Awareness)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What Is Normal Anyway??

I don't know which I loved more--Heiny's sparkling writing or Campbell's perfect delivery of the material. Campbell was spot on with her timing and voicing of all these unusual characters. In many ways she made the book for me.

This story is funny--incredibly funny--and it's also unsettling and sad in parts. I think you will probably smile a good deal of the time you are listening. I also occasionally winced, cringed, guffawed and laughed right out loud. The dialogue was fantastic. The internal thoughts of the characters added so much depth to the story. These are characters that grew on me gradually and by the end of the story I felt I really knew them.

Heiny tackled complex topics of parenthood, marriage, friendship and fitting in--or really in this book not fitting in--but connecting with others all the same. To me, the story was a bit all over the place and I wondered if it might end up just being a simple laugh-fest. Then with the final chapter Heiny pulled it all together and catapulted this into one of my favorite recent listens. Give it time, for me it was worth it.

This book explores eccentricity, diversity and the outliers in our lives. It also casts an eye toward extreme behaviors that have become norms in our modern world. I thought it was terrific. Be aware, considerable frank talk and outrageous behavior ahead.

24 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great entertainment. Smart and funny: Really funny

Thank you Katherine Heiny for keeping me thoroughly entertained throughout. I really fell in love with ditsy Audra who is richer than most of us in how she looks at life. I miss her already.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Narration is pitch perfect! Great story!

Such an enjoyable story. Made me laugh and broke my heart a little bit. Glad I listened to this one - the narrator was terrific!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Episodic

There isn't really a plot, but rather a series of episodes depicting "scenes from a marriage", very amusing, even some LOL moments. Great narration by Cassandra Campbell. It takes talent to read with comedic overtones, and CC delivers.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

For Fans of Anne Tyler

I loved this and didn't want to say goodbye to the characters. Narration was great.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

I'm not sure I got the point.

Any additional comments?

This story was subtle at best and at worst, seemingly pointless. While I did make it through the book, I found the characters a bit unbelievable, especially an older man who is caught between two wives and somewhat of a player. Meanwhile, the women in the book are depicted as fools--one a stupid chatterbox and the other an ice queen. And the names of the characters are outlandish to the point of it being annoying. What saves this book is the autistic son and ultimately, origami. Maybe that was the point?

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

No punchline

Enjoyable characters that do nothing and a novel that goes nowhere. Nice thoughts with nothing compelling propelling the plot. I want my 8 hours back. I could have enjoyed the characters in a couple of hours.






6 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Am I missing something?

Unlikeable characters - every one of them. And a story that goes nowhere. Unless you like listening in on the day to day life of a dysfunctional family, and the people who cross their paths, don't bother.

I had to read it for bookclub so I endured it, but I fail to see the point of it. I can only think that
I'm missing the deeper meaning of this book.

On the plus side, it was read well.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • PattyQB
  • Portland, Oregon
  • 06-08-17

Surprising

This book was surprising in its depth dealing with the increasingly common situation of 2nd chance modern marriages, age gaps, and a child with special needs in the mix. But even more surprising was the many times I laughed out loud in the strangest of places and situations.
And, as always, Cassandra Campbell's narration was superb. An excellent choice.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Still Searching for the Plot

Though this is an entertaining narration, I am still wondering what this story is about. Is it about a couple who befriends the man's ex-wife or is it about a family raising a boy on the spectrum or is it about a woman who's a busybody? After I finished this book, I read the author started this as a series of short stories that happened to feature the same characters, which explains why there isn't an overarching plot line. If you don't a meandering journey, you might find this one funny. For me, it was too scattered. Despite one great quirky character (Audra), I've been scratching my head trying to figure out how it made so many must-read lists.