Like her novel Early Morning Riser, this book centers on a relationship between a man, his ex wife and his new wife (or girlfriend). This novel is told from the man’s perspective – Graham. In addition, each story has a vulnerable person. In Early Morning Riser, it is Duncan’s employee who is mentally challenged. In Standard Deviation, it is their son Matthew, who has Asperger’s syndrome. The title comes partially from an interview with a psychologist who tells Graham and Audra that some of Matthew’s social interactions are a standard deviation from normal.