Author: Graeme Simsion
Provided Synopsis: Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.
Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don’s Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.
Review: Don Tillman is such a fantastic character! I only wish he had been given a storyline and adventure more suitable to him. Don’t get me wrong – this was a relatively enjoyable book, but the plot was so predictable, and the changes Don forced himself to go through toward the end turned me off to some degree. I’d rather read about him being completely himself.
As a science genius, Don is a professor of genetics at a university in Melbourne. He falls somewhere on the asperger syndrome spectrum, which can cause some discomfort to those around him when his social skills are not quite up to par with what is deemed conventional. Being able to read the story through his point of view, however, shows a man who is self-aware and caring. I kind of loved being in the mindset of a character who was so unique.
The plot of the book mainly focuses around the two projects Don takes part of during this time of his life. The Wife Project is a questionnaire he has created to indicate the most compatible partner for him. The Father Project is the one he partakes on with Rosie after she comes to his office one day and asks questions about DNA. Rosie knows that her mother slept with someone on the night of her medical school graduation – with the deed begetting Rosie – and desires to know who her real father is. As the time they spend together increases, Don is able to relax; I loved their relationship prior to the New York trip because he was completely and unabashedly himself with her and she came to care for him because of that.
As for what happened at the end of the book, I am still troubled by since it felt so unauthentic to all that had already happened. It was a weird path to get to the endgame and I’m not sure the actions fit what I had come to understand of the two main characters.