Romance books (which we love) are by and large formulaic in their approach, tending to go as follows:
Boy meets girl/Girl meets boy
Hilarity ensues, coupled with a touching backstory and some tension building mix-ups all ultimately leading up to a satisfying happy ever after.
The Rosie Project isn’t different to that. BUT it is different.
Written by Graeme Simsion in 2013, the book introduces Professor Don Tillman. Don plans every moment of his life with clinical precision, including what he eats, wears and whom he dates.
When he decides to meet a wife, Don and his lothario friend Gene come up with a ‘wife questionnaire’, a research tool created with the sole purpose of finding exactly the right wife. That wife is very speficially not Rosie.
Rosie is chaotic, slightly hysterical and she throws Don’s ordered world into turmoil.
We won’t ruin the ending for you but suffice it to say, true love, whilst not running smoothly, does run in this book. SO far, so formulaic.
What makes it special is that this is the first book to bring to life a man who may be autistic, portraying him in a mainstream love story as more than a one-dimensional, emotionless character.
Simsion has taken a condition not traditionally associated with feelings and bought feelings to life. Using Autism as a story arch for a clever man could be a recipe for a clichè littered, patronising ramble of cheesiness, but some fairly clever characterisation keeps the story light and the focus on the genuinely lovely story development between the two main protagonists.
Speaking of clichès, ‘we couldn’t put it down is big one’, but it applies here. This story is quirky but makes the characters struggles for connection relatable – a tall order indeed.
A must-read for Autism Awareness month!