The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion
HarperCollins, 324 pages
Genetics professor Don Tillman organizes his fridge around a seven-day preplanned supper rotation. He follows a rigid daily schedule, considers a Gore-Tex jacket perfectly acceptable attire for fine dining, and misreads social cues all the time. Despite the evidence, he fails to see that his lecture on Asperger’s Syndrome might somehow be relevant to his own life. All Don knows is that he’s single, he’s estranged from his family, and he has two friends in the world.
As he approaches his fortieth birthday, Don decides that it’s time to get married. He’s a dating disaster; he doesn’t know how to make small talk, he argues over trivial details, and he offends his dates left, right, and centre. His last date abandoned him in the ice-cream line and he’d rather not relive that experience, so he devises a sixteen-page questionnaire designed to empirically identify his ideal woman. He calls it “The Wife Project.”
The Wife Project leads Don to Rosie, who definitely does not meet the stringent criteria. She does, however, intrigue Don with a project of her own. And when Don ventures to step out of the box he inhabits, he learns how to make life with Asperger’s a little more livable.
Funny, touching, and emotionally astute, this novel will appeal to readers of Lisa Genova’s Left Neglected and Melissa Bank’s The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing.