The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

projectEveryone said I would love this, and I did! (I actually had a prepub of this on my bedside table for a long time, then passed it on, missed out on reading it, and that’s why I’m late to the party of everyone reading this.) It’s clearly so destined for a movie, but I am puzzled that the author is at work on a sequel (and in Goodreads this has a parenthetical Don Tillman #1 next to it) because this is a perfectly satisfying book with no need to revisit the characters.

The main character, Don, is immediately identifiable to the reader as someone with Asperger’s. He’s a brilliant scientist with a rigid schedule designed for maximum efficiency and a total lack of social skills. Don knows he is wired differently than others, but even when giving a lecture about Asperger’s he doesn’t realize he’s describing himself. Don has exactly two friends-Gene and his wife Claudia. Gene is a fellow scientist at the university. Another friend, an elderly woman, once told him he would make a good husband and so Don decides to find a suitable wife and creates the Wife Project.  This involves a blunt and detailed questionnaire. He has a few dates where he immediately rules out the women and then agrees to let Gene choose one of the candidates. Enter Rosie. She immediately is unsuitable because she clearly has the wrong answers, but somehow Don ends up on a date with her, having his orderly way messed up.  For reasons he can’t quite understand Don continues to be engaged in Rosie’s life, helping her with a project.

What I liked about this was that Rosie doesn’t “cure” Don, although he is able to change and reflect on the change. And the story is very funny without laughing at Don.  Even he acknowledges that his social missteps are often funny. I kept thinking he was like a grown up Max from Parenthood (though less obnoxious).

A charming and funny, and entirely unlikely, romantic comedy.

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