My last blog lamented a book drought…it has ended with a small joy of a book. In The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, we meet Don Tillman. a geneticist living in Melbourne. Don tells us of his life, which is navigated using very strict, logical rules and boundaries which are obvious to all around him and the gentle reader, but strangely not by Don himself, as classic Autistic traits.
Schedules and routine make up his life, but he increasingly becomes aware that he should have a life partner, to enable him to fit in. He devises a 16 page questionnaire that he plans to use to narrow down his search and to enable him to find the perfect match.
Of course, as with life itself and all good romances, his course will not run smooth, and perhaps he will find his match where he least expects to.
Full of quirkiness and gentle humour, I found I really warmed to Don, and was hoping he’d find someone who ‘got him’ as he was, without him having to compromise too much of what made him interesting.
At a speed dating event, Don tries to apply his criteria to the women he meets:
Rather than ask about IQ, I decided to make an estimate based on Olivia’s responses to questions about historical impact of variations of susceptebility to syphilis across South American populations. We had a fascinating conversation, and I felt that the topic might even allow me to slip in the sexually transmitted diseases question.
I often sense the square pegs in our community feel pressured to fit in, when their unique take on life and their way of view of the world adds to society as a whole and to the lives of those around them.
If you are a fan of The Big Bang Theory, as I am, you’ll see a little of Sheldon in Don. It seems I’ve come across a few autistic spectrum heroes in my reading and viewing lately. The Bridge, a Scandinavian television crime drama, has a wonderful female lead, Saga Noren, whose detective brilliance is not bound by emotion or ties to others.
Of course there is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. A wonderful murder mystery, narrated by Christopher Boone who has Aspergers.
The Rosie Project was a fun read, it had a light touch, driven by a search for love and acceptance and with an ending that made me go awww.
Have you read great books or watched movies about people who think outside the square, or refuse to fit the dreaded square hole? Do share!