‘“You consider the situation with Rosie to be the result of genetic compatibility?’
‘You have such a way with words,’ Gene said. ‘If you want to be a bit more romantic about it, I’d say you were in love.’”
Author: Graeme Simsion Published: 2013 Pages: 327
I read this book on a recommendation from a friend, and I was not disappointed. It was a quick, easy book to read but was also stimulating and funny. Don Tillman is an extremely intelligent geneticist and scientist who lectures at a university in Australia. He has Asperger’s Syndrome and while being able to spot this in others, is incapable of realising he has it himself. Unfortunately, while being very competent at many things such as learning new endeavours with efficiency and speed, all while keeping to a tight schedule, Don struggles in the game of love. He has so far been unlucky when it comes to dating and so devises a plan – ‘The Wife Project’ – to find the most compatible suitor. Cue Rosie – eccentric, subversive and contentious, she ticks every box that Don does not and while he normally steers away from people like Rosie, this time he choses not to and the results are absolutely hilarious.
Simsion manages to capture the raw and compelling behaviour of a man with Aspergers, and not only translates it into a humorous story but educates the reader on why Asperger’s sufferers act the way they do. Simsion creates an environment where being idiosyncratic (like Don) or unorthodox (like Rosie) is not only OK but actually proves very useful in their consequent endeavours.
An element I particularly found amusing was Don’s ignorance of so many social conventions that most people take for granted. This includes innuendos, etiquette in different social situations and taking phrases for their literal meaning. Don does this when someone tells him ‘give me a minute,’ so he looks at his watch and begins counting down sixty seconds. The awkwardness of these faux pas’ provide for an entertaining read and while I found myself cringing at a lot of these moments, you can’t help but fall in love with Don.
While some may perceive this book to be predictable, I think that far from this. The characters are relatable and believable and in a world obsessed with social media and online dating, Simsion provides necessary comic relief in the dating game. Not only does he provide hope that everyone can find love, Simsion uses Don proves that everything and everyone is completely unpredictable.