The novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.
Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when a close friend, in the form of an elderly woman named Daphne, informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.
Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don’s Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.
I thought it was an interesting characterization of someone with Asperger’s Syndrome and in many ways it was reminiscent of my own experiences with those who have Asperger’s.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was a funny, charming and light-hearted read. Don Tillman was a believable character, even if I pictured Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory throughout the entire novel.
I suspect it’s possible that the author may have gotten inspiration, or some ideas, from the popular television series. Much of Don’s character is akin to Sheldon Cooper, specifically the description of his physical appearance, his job, and the way he speaks. These things are not a reflection of everyone with Aspergers, but were oddly parallel to Sheldon.
My biggest complaint of this novel was that it’s ending was far too neat and tidy, with a rather predictable outcome. Nonetheless, there were many laugh-out-loud moments and the author delivered some thought-provoking questions about individuality and what it means to be normal.
I’d recommend this book and give it 3.5/5 stars!
To conclude my review, here are a few of my favourite quotes from the book!
“So, to add to a momentous day, I corrected a misconception that my family had held for at least fifteen years and came out to them as straight.”
“A woman at the rear of the room raised her hand. I was focused on the argument now and made a minor social error, which I quickly corrected. “The fat woman—overweight woman—at the back?”
A particularly thought-provoking one:
“Why do we focus on certain things at the expense of others? We will risk our lives to save a person from drowning, yet not make a donation that could save dozens of children from starvation.”
And one of my favourite, when Don talks about sex:
“I decided that ten positions would be sufficient initially. More could be learned if the initial encounter was successful. It did not take long—less time than learning the cha-cha. In terms of reward for effort, it seemed strongly preferable to dancing and I was greatly looking forward to it.”