My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Professor Don Tillman has few friends, struggles in social situations and shows little emotion, yet he has a brilliant brain. Early on in my reading of this book I wrote down two names which in my view summed up Don; Spock and Mr Bean. To me Don seemed like a combination of the two characters. The book is set in Australia and begins with Don taking over a lecture for a fellow professor where he must give a talk on Asperger’s Syndrome. We are immediately thrown into Don’s world where there is a schedule for everything, thus making Don’s world totally efficient.
However Don’s world is not complete, he wants to share it closely with a fellow human being, but with few friends and no social life he needs a plan. He starts The Wife Project, a complex idea revolving around set of questions and throwing himself into the dating scene. Don has 304 potential candidates from his project and asks his friend Gene to help choose a date. Gene and his wife Claudia coach Don, advise him and nudge him along a path of discovery.
Meanwhile Rosie turns up in Don’s life. Sent by Gene as a wild card and a joke, Rosie disrupts Don’s life. They become friends as Don helps Rosie with her own problems and they devise The Father Project in an attempt to find Rosie’s true biological father using DNA testing and hopes to lay some ghosts to rest. Their project stretches across Australia and even requires a memorable trip to New York. Don is starting to discover things about himself when Rosie forces him to drop his schedules and learn to have fun. He finds the realisation quite disturbing yet promising. Upon their return he embarks on The Don Project in a final attempt to catch the perfect partner for life.
Whilst reading this book Don will quite likely drive you mad, but I couldn’t help also admiring him, his attention to detail, his memory, his dedication. In the end it doesn’t matter if he was an undiagnosed Asperger’s sufferer or not, he made something of his life, he found happiness and he’ll go on learning. I didn’t know anything about this book before I started reading it, I was drawn to the title, obviously! I’m glad I read it, I think often our own paths in life have projects along the way, most not quite as planned out as Don’s.
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