My romantic expectations hover somewhere between The English Patient and Lust, Caution. (Love is brief and destroys lives. THE END.) Reading The Rosie Project, I found myself loving the dispassionate narrator in spite of myself. Don is bright, witty, and somewhere on the spectrum. Though he has no use for love—he’s busy with his successful career and finds satisfaction in his careful routine—he decides a wife could be a helpful addition to his overall situation. Imagine Mr. Spock going on OKCupid.
The author has said that this story started off as a screenplay. It shows, in a good way. Despite the references to Gregory Peck, our leads share screwball DNA with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn (Bringing Up, Baby). The funniest set piece—a catered dinner for a medical school reunion—makes the best possible use of a perfect memory and would make an amazing montage. Happily, the story works better as a novel: Don’s neuro-atypical thoughts and motivations are clear to the reader (though not to the people in his orbit), making for maximum fun. And this book is fun. Don’s observations are legit hilarious and the inevitable misunderstandings that arise don’t make jokes at his expense.
I know the book has a few sequels…but so does The Matrix. I refuse to mess with near-perfection. Recommended for a quick, heartwarming read (not terribly sexy, though). Heads up, the mystery subplot that keeps things moving feels warmed over—no surprises at all—which is the only thing keeping this read from five stars.