Professor Don Tillman is a brilliant geneticist, but his professional success is offset by his lack of luck in the romance department. Attacking this problem with all the force of his logical brain, Don comes up with the Wife Project: a questionnaire for prospective mates designed to weed out undesirable or incompatible qualities. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this does not go well…but then Don meets Rosie. Rosie is the exact opposite of the woman described by the questionnaire: she’s disorganized, spontaneous, and perpetually late. She also needs Don’s help to find her biological father, whom she has never met. Interested in her problem, Don agrees to participate in the Rosie Project. But the more time he spends with her, the more he begins to rethink his list of strict requirements for the ideal woman. He also re-examines his own life and discovers some surprising things about himself — including the fact that he just might have a chance at love after all.
This book was a huge hit when it came out last year, and I can absolutely see why! It’s a charming romantic comedy about two people who couldn’t be more wrong for each other — except, of course, they’re exactly right. Don is a great protagonist and narrator, and he’s unique for a romantic hero in that he has Asperger syndrome. I can’t speak to whether the author’s portrayal of a person with Asperger’s is authentic, but it rang true to me. I like that the book shows both the benefits and drawbacks to having a brain that works differently from most people’s. Don approaches the world in a very logical, structured fashion, which makes him a great scientist. But by the same token, he doesn’t always pick up on social cues or body language, which makes his courtship of Rosie difficult. Rosie herself didn’t make as much of an impression on me; she’s a quirky free spirit who doesn’t really rise above stereotype. But I loved the book for Don’s unique voice and for the sheer sweetness and humor of the love story. This is definitely one of my top reads of the year!