I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Narrator Don Tillman 39, Melbourne genetics prof and Gregory Peck lookalike, sets a 16-page questionnaire The Wife Project to find a non-smoker, non-drinker ideal match. But Rosie and her Father Project supersede. The spontaneous always-late smoker-drinker wants to find her biological father. She resets his clock, throws off his schedule, and turns his life topsy-turvy.
Can you have romance and relationships if you are different from the societal norm? Emphatically yes, says this charming novel. Don Tillman is a genetics professor with a different approach to life and work—it is implied that he exists on the Asperger’s Spectrum and is therefore not neuro-typical but is highly intelligent. He embarks on the Wife Project [a questionnaire to find the ideal woman for him] with enthusiasm and runs into all kinds of unexpected obstacles, not the least of which is personal chemistry [a quality which is unlikely to be quantified on any kind of form].
Don is actually quite astute—he has realized that he is different and the parameters of the difference and has developed coping strategies to deal with his reality. He has found that many people are amused by his attempts to act normally, and has begun to play to this audience. I had great sympathy for him, as I have chosen a life path that doesn’t adhere to the norm and have had to deal with plenty of people who think that my life is therefore deficient! I like to think that my “difference” is a combination of introversion and independence, but I certainly felt some affinity to Don’s struggles. I too head straight for a book if there is a new skill that I need to learn, an occupational hazard involved with library work.
I think we are all like Don in some ways—he is not familiar with giving his emotions much consideration during the decision making process for instance. I often have to do some serious journaling to get in touch with *exactly* what I am feeling to aid in decision making. I think we all need time for reflection to sort out life and have to hope for astute friends who can give us constructive suggestions and fond pushes in the right direction. Don is lucky to have Claudia and Gene (although Gene made me cringe as a friend advising on relationships) to nudge him into actions he wouldn’t usually have chosen for himself.
I also enjoyed Don since I have several Don-like people in my life—including one of my male friends, for whom I was on the “unsuitable list” for some time. I am pleased to report that I am now very much on the “suitable list,” as I simply refused to go away or conform to his preconceived ideas. Just call me Rosie.
I’m not usually a fan of romances, but this one charmed me with its differences from regular script.