From the BLURB:
Don Tillman is getting married. He just doesn’t know who to yet.
But he has designed the Wife Project, using a sixteen-page questionnaire to help him find the perfect partner. She will most definitely not be a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.
Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also fiery and intelligent and beautiful. And on a quest of her own to find her biological father—a search that Don, a professor of genetics, might just be able to help her with.
The Wife Project teaches Don some unexpected things. Why earlobe length is an inadequate predictor of sexual attraction. Why quick-dry clothes aren’t appropriate attire in New York. Why he’s never been on a second date. And why, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love: love finds you.
‘The Rosie Project’ by Graeme Simsion is so wonderful; I’m going to attempt to enumerate my enjoyment of the novel;
1. Don Tillman is an Associate Professor of genetics at the University of Melbourne. He has a black-belt in Akikido, and can cook a mean lobster salad. He also has Asperger syndrome – but he doesn’t know that. Don just thinks that there’s something missing that leaves him baffled by human behaviour and unappealing to other people (especially the opposite sex). But after his dear old neighbour tells him that he would make someone a good husband, Don decides to get married – and to limit the fallout of incompatibility and highly ineffective dating detection, Don decides to make a questionnaire to find himself the perfect wife. Thus, ‘The Wife Project’. This is not insane. It has actually happened, to Amy Webb from Baltimore who found her husband by using math and analytics to narrow the dating field.
2. Rosie Jarman is not a potential partner for Don’s Wife Project. She’s a barmaid who is perpetually late and vegetarian. But she is also beautiful and smart. And she’s on her own quest to find someone – her biological father. Rosie has bright red hair, dresses to impress no one but herself and calls em’ like she sees em’. But she is not a ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’. She does not want to ‘fix’ Don, she’s tough and imperfect and very aware of her failings. She is one of the best romantic-comedy heroines I've ever read.
3. This scene of Don speed-dating (which I read while on the train, and attracted many curious looks as I snorted my way through it);
‘I've sequenced the questions for maximum speed of elimination,’ I explained. ‘I believe I can eliminate most women in less than forty seconds. Then you can choose the topic of discussion for the remaining time.’
‘But then it won’t matter,’ said Frances. ‘I’ll have been eliminated.’
‘Only as a potential partner. We may still be able to have an interesting discussion.’
‘But I’ll have been eliminated.’
I nodded. ‘Do you smoke?’
‘Occasionally,’ she said.
I put the questionnaire away. ‘Excellent.’ I was pleased that my question sequencing was working so well. We could have wasted time talking about ice-cream flavours and make-up only to find that she smoked. Needless to say, smoking was not negotiable. ‘No more questions. What would you like to discuss?’
4. Don Tillman is described as being a dead-ringer for Gregory Peck, circa Atticus Finch. *le sigh*
5. ‘The Rosie Project’ started as a screenplay. Graeme Simsion then decided to turn it into a novel – but still used film-writing techniques and his writing partners were film-industry experts. This is why ‘The Rosie Project’ is destined for the big-screen. The dialogue is so tight and pitch-perfect, the lines just leap up at you and it’s as though characters are speaking from the page. I want to see this film adapted – move over Harry & Sally, it’s all about Don & Rosie!
6. At one point, Don and Rosie travel to New York where, Don says, “being weird is acceptable.” I am going to New York this year. I’m planning an entire day at the Natural History Museum, thanks to Don. I can’t wait!
7. The cover is in-your-face-magnificence. It called to me from the bookshelf, and loudly announced itself to fellow commuters as I read it on the train. I liked this. Very much.
8. Throughout the novel Don starts to question if it’s him that’s missing some vital human-connection component, or if maybe other people are the problem . . . this is encapsulated in the relationship Don has with his best friend and fellow teacher, Gene. Gene is fifty-six and happily married to a beautiful woman with whom he has two children. But Gene’s wife, Claudia, has agreed to an open-marriage and Gene is currently attempting to sleep with a woman from every country. Gene dispenses romantic advice to Don. This is not a good idea, and was a fantastic counter-point to Rosie and Don’s romantic shenanigans.
9. I would actually love a follow-up to ‘The Rosie Project’ because when I got to the last page I immediately missed Don Tillman and wanted him back! But whatever Graeme Simsion decides to write next, I’ll be reading because he’s now an automatic-buy author for me.
10. I could keep going and going and going because I adored ‘The Rosie Project’ (and give it a firm 5/5), but let’s agree that ‘10’ is a good place to stop espousing on all the reasons everyone should read this book (and watch ABC's 'The Book Club' on April 2, because it will be featured!)