Don Tillman is lonely. He has just one real friend, he lives his days according to a precise routine and his life is firmly rooted in facts and evidence. Despite the fact that he works as a genetics professor, he also seems completely unaware of the fact that he displays all of the symptoms of Asperger’s.
Following some thorough research, he has decided that he needs to find himself a wife. An extensive paper survey seems the most efficient way to whittle out the undesirables – those being women who smoke, who are vegetarians etc – without the inconvenience of meeting people face to face.
When Rosie turns up at his office, searching for her biological father, Don initially mistakes her for a candidate in the Wife Project. What he doesn’t know is that Rosie will have the effect of a hurricane on his perfectly ordered life. She is everything that he’s not looking for, but in working with her to find her father, Don’s world starts to open up in ways that he could never imagine.
He comes to understand that in some ways, he has been holding himself back. He sets out to teach himself how to act in social situations, rather than shying away from them. He tries new hobbies, travels and stays up late. But most importantly, he teaches himself how to have real relationships with the people around him.
Throughout the book, Don experiences a real journey of change. He starts out by just going through the motions of how he thinks he should be acting in certain situations. Sometimes he ends up hilariously wide of the mark, sometimes he just can’t understand where he’s going wrong, and sometimes he manages to get it just right. But by going through the steps, somewhere along the way he learns how to love, how to break out of his comfort zone and how to really make the most of his life – albeit in a very unique and different way.
As a narrator, Don offers a unique and entertaining view on life and all of its many intricacies. His character is the star of this book, and really is incredibly well written.
This was a really sweet, entertaining and thoroughly readable book. It doesn’t set out to be particularly deep or profound, but at the same time it’s so much more than just a beach read. One thing I would say is that it was a very quick read. I wanted it to go on longer, but I enjoyed it while it lasted.