Thursday, 27 February 2014
Author: Graeme Simsion
Genre: Chick Lit
Source: Local Library
Publisher: Harper Collins
First Published: May 2013
First Line: "I may have found a solution to The Wife Problem."
Book Description from GoodReads: Narrator Don Tillman 39, Melbourne genetics prof and Gregory Peck lookalike, sets a 16-page questionnaire The Wife Project to find a non-smoker, non-drinker ideal match. But Rosie and her Father Project supersede. The spontaneous always-late smoker-drinker wants to find her biological father. She resets his clock, throws off his schedule, and turns his life topsy-turvy.
My Review: There has been quite a lot of talk surrounding this book and, honestly, when I picked it up at my local library I really didn't have any idea of what it was about. When I learned that it focused on a man who had Asperger tendencies (although this is never confirmed that he actually has Asperger's) I thought it sounded interesting. What I got as a quirky, cute read which unfortunately came off as a little unrealistic and a slightly mocking tone.
Don't get me wrong, Don was a good protagonist and his quirky characteristics totally made me love him. That said, for a man with (assumed) Asperger's I feel that he came off as more of a caricature with every stereotypical Asperger's symptom known to man. In fact, the image that almost immediately came to my mind as I was reading was my beloved Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory. And like Sheldon, Don seems to be at the far, far end of the Asperger's scale which makes him come off as more of a cliché. We all know that I loves me my Sheldon Cooper on Thursday nights but I guess I was expecting more than a TV comedic version of a person with Aspergers in this book.
I am not in line with the popular vote. This book has received very high ratings on GoodReads and Amazon and I did find it to be a light, easy read but not nearly as wonderful as I was hoping. I think that author was going for more of a romantic comedic feel for this book. There were numerous romantic comedy movie references and that this book was supposed to be in the same vein.
Unfortunately, for me anyway, reading about Don's repeated social faux pas never felt funny to me. Seeing how others mocked him bothered me and the fact that he considers himself to be 'an expert at being laughed at' made me sad. My heart went out to this man who knows he has odd behaviours, is overly scheduled and just generally 'different' from those around him. He was just a guy who was trying to fit in and find his own happiness.
This was a very easy read and well written and while I didn't like the mocking tone or the clichéd look at Asperger's, Don was a very likeable character and very easy to get behind. He's a great guy who just doesn't get social intricacies and he's brilliant (although why he doesn't realize he has Asperger's is beyond me). Rosie was the antithesis to dear ol' Don and she was refreshing but her very negative feelings towards her stepdad were based on a very simple omission decades before felt very silly and trite.
I would recommend this book to someone looking for a light, easy beach-type read. It's quirky, predictable and Don will be a character that I will remember for a long time.
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars