Are you a fan of The Big Bang Theory who can’t get enough of the socially awkward Sheldon Cooper? A lover of the underdog? Can’t get enough of the romantic comedy where the wallflower comes out of his shadow and gets down to boogie at the high school dance? Know what it’s like to be different from everyone else? Longing for a slice of humor in a world full of problems?
If you you are saying “yes” to any of these questions, then you should definitely check out The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. Professor Don Tillman, our protagonist and narrator, leads us through the trials and tribulations of finding love while dealing with one’s own quirks. I don’t want to say that Don is on the spectrum, although he feels he may be, but that he is a unique individual who has precise methods of organization that allow him to live his life in a more efficient way. Using scientific theory and formulating a questionnaire that appeals to his “ideal” partner, Don seeks out someone to share his best life with.
I could see where a reader might be offended by characterizing Don as being “on the spectrum” or having Asperger’s, so I won’t do that, but I will say that it is fair to start the dialogue on being different and unique and that treating it in a lighthearted way seems to me to be an excellent route to further understanding each other – rather than decry the depiction, perhaps it is acceptable to enjoy some humor in the situation and to use the novel as a starting point to further research and empathy with those who are on the spectrum.
In any event, Don is no different from any other man in his quest for love and you will find yourself admiring his courage, brilliance and giggling with delight at his hidden talents as he pursues the perfect wife.
Rosie, mentioned in the title, fails to answer the questions correctly, but Don is drawn to her and wants to help her find her father. While assisting her with this task, he finds himself beginning to live a very different life and he is not sure how to deal with it.
The film rights to this novel have already been sold and you will find yourself trying to cast the film by the end of the book. Let’s just say I’m rooting for Ewan McGregor as Don Tillman and I’d like to see Liam Neeson cast as one of the characters as well. Emma Stone could definitely pull off Rosie. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they do not ruin my vision.