Rating: 5 / 5
On paper, Professor Don Tillman seems perfect: he has a stable and professional job, is incredibly intelligent, fit, and can cook. However, he is socially inept and awkward, and has come to the conclusion that he will never get married or have children. He knows that statistically, there is someone for everyone, and thus embarks on The Wife Project: a questionnaire that every potential partner must complete so he can evaluate compatibility. So far, his questionnaire has not yielded good results, and while Don is debating the efficacy of this method, Rosie walks into his life. Rosie would have failed the questionnaire, yet Don can’t help but be attracted to her. Although she smokes, works as a barmaid, is vegetarian, and has completely upended the strict structure of Don’s days, he can’t stop thinking about her, and helps her with the Father Project.
I absolutely adored The Rosie Project. It is predictable in a rom-com kind-of-way, but is utterly charming. Don has Asperger’s, and therefore is challenged by the subtleties of human interaction, and the fine line between what someone says and what that person really means. He knows this, and when he reflects on it, it is hilarious; his perceptions of the world are wickedly accurate, and readers will get a good chuckle from his attempts to navigate according to society’s standards. His voice is unique and compelling, and he is an idiosyncratic character that I couldn’t help but cheer on. He cannot empathize with others, but he is observant of other people’s behaviors and knows what is important, although he cannot understand why. Rosie is also compelling, and is the perfect complement to Don.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone, especially if you’re a fan of Sheldon Cooper as Sheldon and Don seem to be long lost twins. The Rosie Project is an excellent counterargument for people who think that their partner should have a specific set of attributes. Love isn’t formulaic, as Don realized, and trying to find a compatible person is as much about traits and attributes as it is about feelings. Bravo Graeme Simsion on a fantastically written novel.