This story was charming! I’m sure it is shelved in the ‘Fiction’ section of the store rather than ‘Romance’ because it is written by a man! And, there is really only a single main character (the man – Don) rather than a proper hero and heroine, and the story is told only in relation to him. But it is the story of people looking for, and finding, love – so in my book it counts as romance.
Don is a professor who leads a VERY regimented life. So regimented that he eats the same thing every single week on the same day (because it makes his grocery shopping streamlined and he has perfected the recipes). The book never outright says it, but we are to assume that Don is on the Autism spectrum, and based on his high intelligence and the numerous references to it, possibly has Asperger’s Syndrome. Don decides that he should get married (because science says he will live longer), but his dating life has not been at all successful. He decides to go about finding a wife in a scientific method by creating a questionnaire to weed through potential wife applicants and cut out people with undesirable traits. As things in these types of books always go, due to a misunderstanding, Don meets Rosie and thinks she is an applicant for the wife job. Rosie knows nothing about the questionnaire and could never have passed it. Don becomes embroiled in Rosie’s search for her biological father. As you would expect, they go on to have many quirky interactions through which Don learns that human chemistry and need cannot be whittled down to a questionnaire.
Don is an interesting character. His social issues create some really cringe-inducing scenarios. I’m someone who gets vicariously embarrassed for people, and this book was full of that. But Don goes on an interesting journey of self-discovery and I found it fascinating to watch him become self-aware and modify his behavior as a result of the new awareness. There was a makeover montage! I love that. And how rarely do we see the makeover on the man in romance. The hero may have to modify his behavior a bit, or make a grand gesture to show his change of heart, but how often does he get a haircut and some snazzy new clothes?
On the other hand, Rosie veered just too close to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl for me to ever really feel for her. She’s so quirky! She comes in and turns his life around by suggesting eating out on the balcony instead of at the dining table! We never get Rosie’s side of the story, so you only see how Don sees her and how she affects him.
The author’s note mentions something about writing a screenplay (and I believe it is being made in to a movie), and it actually reads that way. It is all a little madcap romantic comedy, and I am OK with that. This book required almost no critical thinking on my part, and since I was reading it during Spring Break (the kid’s vacation is not MY vacation), that was a good thing. I’m not interested in the sequel, and this book ends with a very tidy wrap-up.