Friday, June 7, 2013

Book Review: 600 Hours of Edward

600 Hours of Edward
600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster
October 23, 2009
Amazon Encore repub: August 14, 2012
336 pages
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Source: Amazon Prime
Book Blurb:
A thirty-nine-year-old with Asperger’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, Edward Stanton lives alone on a rigid schedule in the Montana town where he grew up. His carefully constructed routine includes tracking his most common waking time (7:38 a.m.), refusing to start his therapy sessions even a minute before the appointed hour (10:00 a.m.), and watching one episode of the 1960s cop show Dragnet each night (10:00 p.m.).

But when a single mother and her nine-year-old son move in across the street, Edward’s timetable comes undone. Over the course of a momentous 600 hours, he opens up to his new neighbors and confronts old grievances with his estranged parents. Exposed to both the joys and heartaches of friendship, Edward must ultimately decide whether to embrace the world outside his door or retreat to his solitary ways.

Heartfelt and hilarious, this moving novel will appeal to fans of Daniel Keyes’s classic Flowers for Algernon and to any reader who loves an underdog.
My Review:

I don't know exactly how to express how wonderful this book is. Truly, this story is a gift and Edward, our protagonist, is a character you will quickly love. I'd heard about this book from an author whom I respect, so I knew this was a book I wanted to read. What I didn't expect was such an amazing, unique, heartfelt, funny, and touching story.

As the book blurb states, Edward is a 39 year old man who lives with Asperger's Syndrome and OCD. He lives a life of routine that you quickly understand. The chapters of the book follow the days of the "600 hours" that change his life. I loved reading each day. There is some repetition, as Edward is a numbers man, lives by facts, and tracks multiple things in his life and schedule. But this consistency really demonstrates how Edward thinks. But more than that, the small and big changes Edward makes can also be easily tracked as we notice how things affect his routine. The "Letters of Complaint" were one of my favorite things about his routine and I loved watching his growth through them, and the humor within them.

Edward's life is interrupted by his new neighbors entering his life. This is one of the catalysts for the many changes and situations Edward faces and has to treat with new perspective. This journey through this time period in Edward's life was written quite perfectly. I found myself laughing frequently, smiling genuinely, clutching my heart in hope, and tearing up through the hurt and love. And the way the author interweaves the other characters throughout Edward's life made the story complete - Kyle with his innocence, Donna with her compassion, Dr. Buckley with her wisdom, Joy with her quirkiness, Ted with his stubbornness, and even Joe Friday from Dragnet's humanity.

Bottomline: I can't say enough good things about this book. This is a true gem and I highly recommend it to everyone. The journey was amazing and the ending was beautiful. I look forward to reading Edward Adrift, the next step in Edward's journey.


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