Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-07-01
- Reviewer: Staff
Read-out-loud laughter begins by page two in Simsion’s debut novel about a 39-year-old genetics professor with Asperger’s—but utterly unaware of it—looking to solve his Wife Problem. Don Tillman cannot find love; episodes like the Apricot Ice Cream Disaster prevent so much as a second date with a woman. His devised solution is the Wife Project: dating only those who “match” his idiosyncratic standards as determined by an exacting questionnaire. His plans take a backseat when he meets Rosie, a bartender who wants him to help her determine her birth father’s identity. His rigidity and myopic worldview prevents him from seeing her as a possible love interest, but he nonetheless agrees to help, even though it involves subterfuge and might jeopardize his position at the university. What follows are his utterly clueless, but more often thoroughly charming exploits in exploring his capacity for romance. Helping Tillman are his only two friends, an older, shamelessly philandering professor, and the professor’s long-suffering wife, who may soon draw the line in the sand. With Asperger’s growing visibility in pop culture in recent years, as on CBS’s The Big Bang Theory, this novel is perfectly timed. Agent: David Forrer, Inkwell Management. (Oct.)
Real love trumps Pygmalion
Genetics professor Don Tillman is a man of science. His days are meticulously scheduled, his weekly meals pre-planned for maximum nutritional value and his choices made in logical consideration of best possible outcomes. So when he decides it’s time to find a suitable life partner, he does what any rational scientist would do—he creates an extensive dating questionnaire and embarks on “The Wife Project.” The results, of course, are not quite what Don expects, and that’s the fun of reading Australian author Graeme Simsion’s charming debut novel.
When Don meets Rosie Jarman, a gorgeous, free-spirited bartender searching for her biological father, he doesn’t need a questionnaire to tell him that they are not a match—she smokes, drinks and has a serious issue with punctuality. But Rosie is intriguing, and despite his better judgment, Don puts “The Wife Project” aside to embark on a quest to find Rosie’s father.
As Rosie and Don dig through her mother’s past, Don starts to have a little non-scheduled fun—eating meals outside his weekly menu plans, staying out late and talking over drinks, and even bending university rules to use the genetics lab after hours. Before Rosie, no woman had ever seemed to understand Don or appreciate his unique point of view. But with Rosie, things are just different, and whether it’s fate or science, Don finds himself falling for the most unlikely of women.
With The Rosie Project, Simsion has created a wacky, wonderful love story that is just plain fun to read. The ways in which Don and Rosie challenge and complement each other is downright inspiring—not to mention hilarious. Simsion writes with humor and heart, and his story is both original and endearing. The Rosie Project teaches us that it’s never too late to discover who we are, and empowers us to find the people who will love us—quirks and all.