Don Tillman has decided that it’s time to get married. There’s only one problem — he hasn’t found that special someone just yet. But Don won’t let a small item like that stand in his way and he begins the Wife Project, an elaborate questionnaire that will allow him to screen potential candidates based on their suitability.
What Don didn’t count on was his best friend sending Rosie his way. On the surface, Rosie doesn’t meet the criteria Don has set out for a potential date, much less a wife. But working together to track down Rosie’s biological father, something is stirring between Rosie and Don, even if they both won’t admit it or aren’t necessarily willing (at least at first) to embrace it.
Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project reads a bit like a “lost” episode of The Big Bang Theory where Sheldon and Penny fell in love instead of Penny and Leonard. Told from the perspective of Don, we’re allowed inside the thoughts and feelings Don experiences and his slow change over the course of the novel. Like Sheldon, Don has rigid rules for his life that he follows and it’s a fascinating journey to see him want to change some of the structure of his life in order to include Rosie.
There’s also a subplot about Don’s best friend, a womanizer who borrows Don’s database of women and is seen taking them out on dates — even the ones Don felt weren’t suitable candidates for his project. Don’s friend keeps a map with pins in each country of a woman he’s seduced, despite being married. Readers may pick up on what’s going on with the best friend sooner than Don does, but that isn’t a bad thing. It’s just one more insight into Don’s character and world-view.