(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Don Tillman, a 39-year-old associate professor of genetics, lives his life according to a rigidly structured schedule designed to ensure his time is spent in the most logical, efficient way possible. He has little patience for any activity that forces him to deviate from his impeccably-organized itinerary. Dating, thus, presents a bit of a problem. Although he desires a wife, and should—statistically speaking—have no trouble finding one, Don cannot seem to attract the perfect partner. Even a suitable one, it seems, is impossible for the professor to attain. Wasting time getting to know females who simply will not do as potential mates is making Don crazy. Since he is not the type of man to let a conundrum go unsolved, he vows to find himself a bride using the parameters he knows best: logic, efficiency, and hard, provable data.
Thus, The Wife Project is born. Don comes up with a brilliant, 16-page tool for finding the perfect woman:
A questionnaire ... A purpose-built, scientifically valid instrument incorporating current best practice to filter out the time time wasters, the disorganized, the ice-cream discriminators, the visual-harassment complainers, the crystal gazers, the horoscope readers, the fashion obsessive, the religious fanatics, the vegans, the sports watchers, the creationists, the smokers, the homeopaths, leaving ideally, the perfect partner or realistically, a manageable short list of candidates. (Page 17)
Rosie Jarman, an unpredictable barmaid ten years his junior, is the exact kind of woman the questionnaire is designed to eliminate from Don's dating pool. Still, he's intrigued by her passion, especially when it comes to seeking out her biological father. As Don lends his expertise to The Father Project, he finds himself falling (illogically, irrationally) for the exuberant Rosie. Does such an unconventional pairing have any hope of lasting? Can someone as unbending as Don ever be happy with someone as pliable as Rosie? Only one thing is certain: Don's rational attempt at finding a wife has turned into a messy affair that proves love is rarely logical, never predictable, and always ready to turn your life upside down.
The Rosie Project, a debut novel by Australian playwright Graeme Simsion, is one of those books that's embarrassing to read in public. Not because of risqué cover art or a suggestive title, but because I couldn't stop laughing—out loud—at the antics of its main character. This hilarious rom com is so delightful that I could hardly restrain myself from smiling, chuckling, and sharing the best bits with the room at large. It's just a fun all-around read. I loved the unique premise, the sparkling prose, the intriguing characters, and especially, the growth that Don's character shows throughout the novel. Hype usually steers me away from a novel—in this case, it drew me to one of the most delightful books I've read all year.
(Readalikes: Hm, I can't think of anything. Can you?)
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for language and sexual innuendo/content
To the FTC, with love: Another library