600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love this book! Someone compared it to Flowers for Algernon and I agree completely. I've already marked it as a “comfort read” and looking forward to reading it again. It is hard to believe that a book narrated by a 39 year old man with Asperger's Syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder would be remotely interesting, but I found it hard to put down.
Edward Stanton lives in a house his wealthy father bought him when the symptoms of his condition caused too much interruption in his parent’s household. Edward had lost his job due also to some of his symptoms so he no longer works and is free to lead the regimented and orderly life he prefers. He keeps detailed records of the times he awakens and the temperature and keeps a file of his numerous letters of complaint which he never sends anymore under the advice of his therapist. Every night at exactly 10:00 he watches Dragnet then goes to bed at exactly midnight.
Into this orderly existence comes Donna Middleton and her 9 year old son, Kyle. A victim of at least 3 disastrous and abusive relationships, she has moved across the street from Edward and is looking for a calm and supportive life for her son.
Edward compulsively paints his garage every other year and when the employee at Home Depot will not help him narrow his choice of paints, he buys 3 cans of 3 different colors and begins painting his garage completely, each color in turn. One day Kyle asks if he can help paint, and surprising himself, Edward agrees to let him. This little decision completely transforms Edward’s life. Little by little, his ordered life begins to crumble and he is forced to decide if he wants to continue in his isolated existence or confront the difficulties of friendship and all that it entails. With each step, he is also forced to confront the difficult relationship with his controlling father who often communicates with him only through letters from his lawyer.
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