The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is full of ironic, smart wit. Those who enjoy obvious, slapstick types of humor may not catch the author’s brand of humor, but it cracked me up.
Professor Don Tillman is a geneticist with a very high IQ, a remarkable memory, and some sort of syndrome, probably Asperger’s Disease, of which he is unaware. Oh, he knows his reliance on daily schedules and routines, his lack of empathy, and his avoidance of people makes him different, but he prefers it that way.
Logic vs Emotion
The humor comes as he looks at our world in his logical manner and tries to fit his square pegs into society’s round holes. Throughout his life, his misunderstanding of expectations and odd behaviors brought him ridicule within his family, at school, in his career. Their laughter made him feel useful.
Don’s faux pas continue as he distributes his “Wife Project” survey to find the perfect woman for himself. Rosie, who has issues of her own, doesn’t qualify as a candidate, but thinks he is endearing. He misses all her dating cues.
The Rosie Project is actually an in-depth look at autism and other “abnormalities” and makes the reader consider what is “normal” in our society. It makes the point that people who are different may very well have many talents and can be a great value to society.
What is “Normal?”
The humor lets up in the last quarter of the book as Don becomes more “normal” and issues are resolved, but I don’t find that to be a fault. The only thing that didn’t ring true for me is that Don excelled at everything he attempted: ballroom dancing, bar tending, plumbing. I suspect not all people with Don’s type of brain have such hidden, untapped gifts. Perhaps such hyperbole is necessary to change our way of thinking of what is “normal.”
Very enjoyable reading.