The Rosie Project

Geneticist Don Tillman knows he should have no trouble finding a mate: "I am thirty-nine years old, tall, fit, and intelligent, with a relatively high status and above-average income as an associate professor.... In the animal kingdom, I would succeed in reproducing." This unfortunate statement demonstrates his personality--analytical, logical and largely unable to anticipate or correctly respond to human social behavior. After one date disaster, Don has an epiphany: Why not develop a test that will find his ideal mate scientifically? So begins the Wife Project but, meanwhile, he meets Miss Completely Wrong: Rosie. In no time, Rosie begins to turn Don's carefully calibrated world on its head with her spontaneity and joie de vivre. Can a free spirit like Rosie ever see through Don's pocket protector to the heart underneath? Can Don shed his narrow worldview to recognize his feelings for Rosie?

A subtext of the novel is Don's implied Asperger's, as Simsion shows that while Don's eccentricities are not without effect, the lack of diagnosis or intervention has not kept him from building a successful professional life. Don is different, but not disabled, and while his social missteps and innocent tactlessness drive the story's humor, one never gets the sense that Simsion is making fun of Don; rather, he pokes fun at the rest of humanity--irrational decisions, unnecessarily complicated nuances of courtship and apparent aversion to punctuality.

While Simsion's charming hero is unconventional, expect a traditional romantic comedy with sly nods to film classics of the genre. Sometimes touching, sometimes thought-provoking and always hilarious, The Rosie Project is a feel-good novel that, just like your favorite romantic movie, you'll want to enjoy again and again. --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth services manager, Latah County Library District; blogger at Infinite Reads

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