The Rosie Project. Finished 1-22-16, rating 4.5/5, fiction, pub. 2013
Unabridged audio read by Dan O’Grady. 7.5 hours
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.
I’m a Big Bang Theory fan and mother to a boy on the spectrum and I loved this book. I was afraid to read it, characters on the spectrum make me nervous, wondering if the characterization will make me cry in my bed at night instead of getting what sleep I can. No worries here though, Don hilariously lectures to a group of Asperger kids about the diagnosis never for a moment making the connection that he is talking about himself. Somehow the story never laughs at Don, but with him as his quirks and earnest truthiness win the reader over quickly.
Don’s Wife Project leads him on a series of dates, hands full of a 16 pages questionnaire to weed out the women who were unsuitable (which left about .0001 percent of the population). When his slimy friend, Gene, sends Rosie to Don, he thinks it’s because Rosie has ‘passed’ the test. Don is looking for a wife and Rosie is looking for her biological father and the two embark on one adventure after another that leads Don to rethink his questionnaire.
I loved this charming love story and fans of The Big Bang Theory will too. Stories about ‘Aspies’, those intelligent people on the high functioning end of the spectrum, too often make people think most people on the spectrum are this high functioning. They are not. I do hope my guy will eventually grow up and find someone to love who loves him back, much like Don 🙂 I didn’t care for the ending, I had to go back and listen again to understand what happened, but that’s my only complaint. I know the movie has been optioned and I’d love to see it on the big screen!