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Book Review: 600 Hours of Edward


Article by Mary Ellin Arch

Photography by ahmet hamdi on Unsplash

I finish reading “600 Hours of Edward” at 1:37 p.m. on Sunday, June 6, 2020. This is an oddity. I usually don’t track the exact time I finish a book. But I have been inspired by Edward, the kooky (I love the word “kooky”) protagonist of this story, which is written by Craig Lancaster.

Edward has Asperger’s Syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, which causes him to do somewhat unusual things like keep logs of what time he awakens every day (typically 7:38 a.m.) and each day’s weather (as reported in the Billings, Montana, daily newspaper), and watch 1 episode of Dragnet every night at 10 p.m. (but only the color episodes), every one of which is one of his favorites.

Edward is an endearing (I love the word “endearing”) character that you can’t help but fall in love with, because seeing the world through Edward’s eyes is like taking in your surroundings as the sun comes up - you see and understand more of what is around you as light is cast upon it. Edward has an incredible 600-hour period (he lives his life as much by a clock as by a calendar) in which, for the first time in his adult life, he makes new friends, pursues a relationship, reconciles with his father (after a fashion - I love the turn of phrase “after a fashion”) and enters a new phase in life in which he is slightly less driven by the facts he prefers and begins to explore his emotions.

This is an exceptional book (I love the word “exceptional”) that I think everyone would enjoy, especially people who know someone with a developmental disorder like Asperger’s or OCD.

If you haven't figured it out by now, this review is written in the style of the book, which is narrated by Edward in his uniquely quirky style. If you like this review, you'll like the book, which I highly recommend (5 out of 5). If you're annoyed by this review, you may be similarly annoyed by the book, because the whole thing is like this. However, if you choose not to try it, you'll miss out on a special book about a special character you won't soon forget, and you'll deny yourself an eye-opening glimpse of the inner world of people with developmental disabilities.