An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.
Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.
Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don’s Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.
The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.
When you think about a book and their main characters, not many of us would expect to find a character like Don Tillman as a lead. As someone with Asperger, Don is a highly intelligent and yet, odd individual. Everything about him is methodically and timed to the last minute. For example, for some of us, the idea of arriving early for an appointment seems reasonable. To him, it is a waste of time. Every minute of every day is scheduled and there’s no changing that.
That is until Don tries to embark on what he calls “The Wife Project.”
As a forty year old, Don realizes the possibility that he can find someone is slim. Between his quirkiness, extreme pickiness when it comes to his perfect ideals for a mate and honestly, his own ego, he’s not exactly Prince Charming. I think for me, it was hard not to roll my eyes at the idea of someone creating a questionaire to weed out potential mates. Even more ridiculous, is the idea that people would honestly fill one out. I suppose it just proves how desperate people are to find “the one.” Also, it further demonstrates Don obsessive need to control every variable of his life.
But everything isn’t completely lost for Don, because once he’s introduced to Rosie, he finds himself constantly changing his unchangeable routines time and time again. I think that’s the part of the book I enjoy the most. Because it is the beginning of a entertaining and funny journey for Don. But also because as a mother with a son on the spectrum, it gives me hope that he may be able to find his way as an adult.
My favorite part of the book has to be when he gives a speech about children on the spectrum. It’s near the beginning of the book and it by far doesn’t give anything away. But when the adults try to force Don to speak in layman’s terms, his example is one that completely stuns the parents. He uses the idea of hiding from gunmen with a baby. You have a gun and then the baby begins to cry. What do you do? Each of the children (all of who are aspies) begin shouting out different approaches to the scenario. Everything from asking how many gunmen to shooting the baby and even how long a baby could go without air before it suffocates. This only empowers Don as he proudly declares “Aspies rule!” and point out how their ability to not be affected by emotional responses gives them a better chance of surviving, while “normal” people would be hindered by the emotions and moral ideals. I know this sounds like an odd thing to enjoy, but the logic is sound and I think it’s the first time in the book when you can really connect with Don. His passion for things is hindered by his condition. Had this book been from another point of view, everything about him would be cold and robotic. When in truth, this allows some great insight into the mind of someone with this condition.
I really enjoyed this book and I would highly recommend it. Apparently it is being turned into a movie and there’s even a second book, so I look forward to looking into both.