The whole concept behind this book initially appealed to me because I thought it sounded like a lovely, humorous take on the way we scrutinize our relationships and define our ‘criteria’ for the perfect partner. And of course, a story where a man defies his criteria for his soul mate is one that every woman wants to hear, right?
The Rosie Project is full of emotion and eccentric characters, but for some reason I didn’t find it as entertaining as I hoped. It follows the story of Don Tillman, an extremely intelligent geneticist who suffers unknowingly from Asperger’s Syndrome, which makes any social situation his worst nightmare (imagine Sheldon from Big Bang Theory, but older). Don is becoming frustrated with his lack of success with the dating scene so, drawing upon his expertise, he decides to devise a detailed questionnaire that will enable him to find the most compatible, perfect wife. He calls this ‘The Wife Project’.
With the help of his best friend and colleague, Gene, Don launches the project but is dismayed by the responses to his questionnaire – the women aren’t quite as perfect as he hoped. But then Gene introduces him to Rosie (who would score catastrophically low on the questionnaire, FYI) and he doesn’t quite know what to do with himself. Rosie is everything a wife shouldn’t be, yet Don can’t help but learn to adore her. He even helps her to pick up the pieces of her family life by searching for her biological father, risking his career in the process.
It’s the ultimate – if slightly bizarre – love story, and I like the fact that the characters don’t adhere to your typical stereotypes: Rosie is flawed but strong and courageous, whereas Don is naïve, warm-hearted and just damn right strange! For a female reader Don’s incapability to be open-minded is so frustrating at the start, but to see his character develop is endearing and you do come to empathize with him and really route for his happiness.
I read this book while I was on holiday and, although some parts did grip me, towards the third quarter of the book my interest started to waver and I wasn’t as hooked as I expected to be. For me, I felt the story-line was a little too basic; I would have liked to have seen some more plot twists or some surprising secrets unveiled that would add more substance to the characters, especially Rosie.
The second installment The Rosie Effect has just been released, and I’m still undecided on whether to read it or not. What are your thoughts? I’m really tempted to give this story another chance, so watch this space!