If you wanted to meet the perfect mate, would you leave it to chance, or would you create a 16 page (double- sided) questionnaire that will eliminate all those who have habits you don’t like? If you were a highly logical person, like genetics Professor Don Tillman, a questionnaire would seem like the only solution. To implement his plan, Don takes his questionnaire to places he might meet single women, such as a singles party, where he passes it out at the door.
As you might expect, Don’s Wife Project does not go according to plan. He never seems to meet anyone who would pass the test and few women seem interested in filling out the questionnaire. On top of this, he finds himself spending more and more time with Rosie, someone who is the complete opposite of his ideal woman. Rosie smokes, does not exercise, and is never punctual. When she first arrived at his office, Don mistakenly thought she was there because of the Wife Project so he asked her to dinner. But Rosie just wanted help in tracking down her real father and was referred to Don because of his expertise in genetics. Despite her unsuitability, Don’s Wife Project keeps getting delayed because of the work he’s doing on Rosie’s Father Project.
Don’s lack of social skills makes for some very funny incidents, sometimes predictable, but most often not. I have read reviews that compared the character of Don to Sheldon from the TV show, “The Big Bang Theory.” I do see similarities, but Simsion‘s Don seems much more real to me and the situations in the book seem more natural than a sitcom could ever be. In fact, none of the characters in the book are stereotypical or perfect. More importantly, Don is an adult who continues to learn and grow. He frequently stops to analyze his behavior and see how he can better himself.
The Rosie Project is more than a comedy or a love story, it is about how we make connections with other people and how we overcome our preconceived notions of everyone, including ourselves. I found it to be utterly charming. It could possibly be the feel good book of the year.