Whatcha reading? The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Boy meets girl, and it's love, except that the boy doesn't know it. His dating experience has been negligible and unsuccessful, perhaps owing to his difficulties with social and emotional cues. The "boy" in question is almost forty-year-old Don Tillman, a genetics researcher who appears to be well along on the autism spectrum, buy he may or may not know that either. Don is also not good at friends, but he is game to keep trying. Don has a project, the Wife Project, and then he meets Rosie, who has a project, the Father Project, so then Don has two projects. Don is happy about this because he is good at projects, because he can look at them logically and scientifically, even though love and families don't often proceed along logical and scientific lines.

What I like best about this book so far is how funny it is. I wasn't expecting that. It's like a screwball romantic comedy of old, where you are pretty sure how it's all going to turn out, and both projects really, but the journey is a lot of fun along the way. I think one of the reasons it's funny is that it isn't possible socially, at least as an adult, to laugh at someone actually on the autism spectrum. I know two boys, one with Asperger's and one with autism, and it would be horrible to laugh at them when they make a common social faux pas, though I have seen kids do it and then cut an eye at the teacher or other adult to see if s/he caught it. I have pitied these boys, marveled at, learned from, and widened my eyes at them, but I have never ever felt like laughing. Somehow, in this book when Don gives a lecture on Asperger's to a room full of boys with that diagnosis, and they decide together, rationally, that the best theoretical course of action to produce life-preserving silence is to kill the crying baby, I could laugh—and did, many times.

Rosie has her own issues, as we all do, but I appreciate how she treats Don as "normal," as friend and maybe more material, because I like Don, and while she may shake her head at his foibles, she doesn't denigrate him for them. We should all be so lucky. Maybe they will be, too. I think it's likely.

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