Professor Don Tillman is used to not fitting in. He’s a genius, but there’s one thing he just can’t get the hang of – social skills. His entire life is a perfectly orchestrated routine – everything from what time he goes to bed, to what he eats for dinner each night of the week. Approaching 40, Don decides that it’s time to settle down – married men live longer afterall. He decides he must approach the problem as he approaches everything else – in a logical and ordered way. So he starts The Wife Project and devises a questionnaire that he will use to screen potential mates to ensure their compatibility. But then he meets Rosie – the most beautiful woman in the world, but deeply unsuitable for Don… she’s a smoker for a start. Despite all the logical reasons telling Don that Rosie isn’t right for The Wife Project, Don finds himself drawn to her and slowly realises that the ordered world he has created for himself isn’t the only way to live life.
The Rosie Project is a laugh-out-loud tale of love and being different. I loved it – it has all the elements that you want from a book – you’ll laugh, you’ll feel, you’ll be surprised and you will certainly love Don and Rosie. Don is such a brilliant character – despite being what most people would consider ‘odd’, he is kind, charming and truly one of a kind.
It is implied that Don suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, although this is not explicitly referred to in the book and he has also suffered from depression as a younger man. The story really made me think about the labels we assign to people in an attempt to understand behaviour that is considered ‘different’ – I don’t say this to downplay or trivialise Asperger’s at all – but I felt that Don’s narration of the story was a really effective and sensitive way to portray life as someone who is, in Don’s own words, ‘wired differently’.
I think this is one of the most enjoyable books I have read this year. It’s different, it’s funny and it’s touching without being too much of an ‘issues’ book. I’m so pleased that the sequel, The Rosie Effect has just been published so I can get another dose of Don soon!