My first piece book piece on ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, a classic of modern times, did really well in terms of people reading and liking it, so here’s hoping that you like all the books in this series, the next being ‘The Rosie Project’ by Graeme Simsion.
‘The Rosie Project’ is a charming novella about professor Don Tillman and his search for love, having never been on a second date, Don decides, with his fortieth birthday coming up, to design something called ‘the wife project’ for which he creates a questionnaire for women to fill out as he searches for the perfect partner. All is going well, awkward dates are avoided as incompatible women are eliminated, Don is sure that it’s only a matter of time until a suitable questionnaire is completed. This is when Rosie enters the fray and Don’s world is turned upside down, the order and sensibility that is Don’s life is seemingly thrown awry every time Rosie is around. Don knows from his questionnaire that Rosie is ‘completely incompatible’ and yet he can’t help but feel something he’s never felt before when he’s with her. This book follows Don and Rosie’s hilarious journey as they get to know each other and Don sees a side of life he never would have done without Rosie.
I loved this book, perhaps the story isn’t the most original, but Don is possibly one of my favourite characters I have met in any of my recent reads. From the start, it is clear that Don has a form of Asperger’s’ which means he struggles in social situations (hence the lack of a second date) and strictly adheres to a schedule. Don even has his meals planned on a repeating two-week schedule! His life is extremely compartmentalised in order to use time effectively, and yet Don seemingly has no idea that he has the syndrome, even stating that ‘most adults never even know they have Asperger’s’ whilst never realising that he himself is on the spectrum. Don is such a lovable character and his inner monologue, whilst hilarious, is quite informative of what it may look like inside the mind of an Asperger’s sufferer. Simsion has been praised and chastised in equal measure for his creation of Professor Tillman with some people saying that he is poking fun at a serious issue, whilst others say the book takes the first step towards breaking down the stigma surrounding Asperger’s and autism. I personal can see both sides of this argument but ultimately, Don Tillman is a very complex and well-constructed character, sometimes misjudging situations and looking like an asshole but always meaning well. I do think there is something to be said for the breaking down of taboo as well, how many main characters can you name that are on the autism spectrum, not many I can bet.
As I said before, whilst this story perhaps lacks an original story line and is effectively the same as every romcom ever, the make-up of the characters and the intertwining of their lives is extremely clever. A very funny book with plenty of digressions from the usual story line you might expect from a romcom, I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone to give a read. Whilst you may see where the book is headed from a mile off, I guarantee that you’ll never predict the winding path we take to get there.