I happy-sigh everytime I look at this book. I listened to the unabridged audiobook of The Rosie Project – the first time I’ve ever listened to an entire audiobook without also reading some of it in book form. But when I finished it, I had a coupon from B&N in my email so I went there and bought myself the hardcover. Because it was just that damn delightful.
Don Tillman is a geneticist. He’s also extremely organized, focused, and rational, and lacking in social skills. When he decides that he would like a female partner to spend his life with, he comes up with The Wife Project – a long questionnaire designed to filter out unsuitable candidates and to help him find the perfect woman for him. He goes on a date with Rosie, who immediately fails most of his criteria, but he agrees to use his expertise in genetics to help Rosie find her biological father – even though it goes against all logic. What ensues is a romantic comedy for the literary world, and it’s fantastic.
I’ve read tweets and reviews about this book that compares Don to Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, and I think that’s a really lazy comparison. Don seems to have Asperger’s syndrome (or a mild case of autism, since Asperger’s has now been rolled into the autism spectrum). He’s perfectly capable, but he has his quirks – he schedules his time down to the minute, he’s efficient and literal. He doesn’t do great in social situations, because he doesn’t know or get a lot of social conventions, he’s nervous, and he’s not the best at reading facial expressions. But he’s also a bit of a sweetheart. He’s innocent, honest, brave, and caring. Watching him fumble around in social adventures and unknowingly falling in love with Rosie was just fun and too darn adorable.
Rosie is a fun character too, even though it’s Don who really shines in this book. She’s a bit emotional and going through some issues, but she’s vibrant and funny and tough. The slow dance her and Don play throughout the entire book constantly had me excited to keep reading (or listening, I guess). This IS a romantic comedy for the book world, and it works beautifully. I often caught myself smiling, laughing, tearing up, and clapping my hand over my mouth in surprise as I listened. I already want to re-read it.
Let me comment for a minute on the audiobook aspect. It was read by Dan O’Grady – since I don’t get into audiobooks very often, I have no idea if he’s a popular audiobook reader or not. Personally, I think he did a fantastic job of narrating Don. I thought he did a great job conveying Don’s emotions, and he had great comedic timing. Also, him being Australian (I think? I can’t find anything online confirming this) helped a lot, since when I read by myself I don’t really hear accents in my head. The only downside to listening to a book is that I can’t mark favorite quotes or passages. I’m really excited to read my hardcover copy and write some down.
Sarah Says: 5 stars