Don Tillman is a genetics professor at a university in Australia who has decided that it is time to find a wife. He has tried dating before to disastrous results, and stumbles upon the idea that a questionnaire will help mitigate the disasters. He asks a fellow professor and friend, Gene, to help him. Gene is a notorious playboy, trying to sleep with women from as many countries as possible. He is also an ass for not seeing that the “open marriage” he has with his wife is making her miserable. Well, he probably knows it, even if it’s a bit unconsciously, because he constantly lies to her about it.
Most of Don’s issues come from his undiagnosed Aspergers syndrome. The people around him, especially Gene and his wife Claudia, do know that he has it, and Gene subtly tries to nudge Don into realizing it by having him make a presentation for a group of kids with Asperger’s. It does not work they way Gene wants it to, but it does give the kids more confidence, which is good. Throughout the book, Don generally comes to realize that his lack of empathy causes more problems than he originally thought. Don has gone through life just thinking he was “wired differently,” but not thinking it was a problem, and dealt with life as best he could. Until fairly recently, that was how many people with high-functioning Aspergers syndrome lived their lives. They were seen as kind of quirky and awkward, but they managed to get by. There is more knowledge, and I feel more understanding now.
I’m not sure what to think about this one. It was a fast read, and I liked it, but I’m still not sure about it. The premise was entertaining, and I enjoyed seeing Don succeed. He was content with his scheduled, stable life, but he wasn’t really living well. He wasn’t enjoying life, but he didn’t know it, and that’s sad. On the other hand, he wasn’t miserable, so there’s that. I just don’t see how the rapid changes he makes would really have worked. He changes his entire life and seems fine with it, whereas I would have thought he would struggle with it more.
A lot of people like this for the love story, whereas I was more interested in Don becoming more aware of himself. He learns to enjoy life, which may be a bigger accomplishment than finding love.
There are two more books in the series, The Rosie Effect and The Rosie Result. Based on the synopsis and reviews of the books, I will not be reading them.
This fulfills the CBR11’s Bingo square of “Far and Away” as Australia is about as far away from my house that you can get and still stay on this big rock!
Bingo count – 2 (Far right column, top row)