600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A beautifully written story about a 39 yr old man suffering from both OCD and Aspergers syndrome. I have so many emotions about this book, and I really need a few days to process them all before writing a proper review. I will say right now that this was one of the best books I have ever read, and that Edward is by far one of the most endearing characters I have ever been introduced to.
I am going to keep this short and sweet, since it has been a few weeks since i finished this book and I am still having trouble putting my thoughts into words about it.
I find it amazing that Lancaster was so successful in keeping the perfect balance between a sweet and touching story about an isolated man very much facing life as a misunderstood outsider, to a silly comedy about a misfit who lacks the people skills needed to navigate through day to day life. And that in a book of less than 300 pages he was able to get both sides of that man's story across so well.
Edward is all about routine. He starts his day by recording the time he opened his eyes and the weather forecast in a notebook he keeps beside the bed. He eats the same food week after week. He watches one episode of Dragnet (only from the last season) at 10pm every night. He writes a daily "Letter of Complaint" to people who anger him (a suggestion by his therapist, who also encourages him to never mail the letters but file them away instead) and is in bed each night by 12am. His life is on a continuous loop until his new neighbors arrive across the street. The way that Edward ends up dealing with that curve ball being thrown into his life is both touching and believable.
The way the author deals with Edward as a character is also damn close to perfect. His obsessive behavior never comes off as pathetic or makes the reader feel uncomfortable. Instead the author makes us fall in love with this flawed and troubled man in a way that makes his quirks only part of his charm.
I am so glad I decided to take a chance on this book, because this was a reading experience that will remain with me for a long time. And Edward is most definitely someone I will never forget.