Dr.Don Tillman likes to be organised. He has a tight schedule, orchestrated to the exact minute – it takes ‘three minutes, twenty seconds’ to have a shower, unless he washes in hair, ‘in which case it takes an extra minute and twelve seconds’. (The extra time is because he has to leave the conditioner on for sixty seconds). He operates a Standardised Meal Plan (Lobster on Tuesdays – hence the cover pic) and changes to his routine flummox and unsettle him. As a geneticist, he finds scientific explanations reassuring and his literal interpretations of situations make life difficult for him, both at work and in his personal life. Despite his ordered existence, Don would like to be in a relationship and so he devises The Wife Project, a systematic approach to finding the perfect partner. Rosie doesn’t tick any of the right boxes, but she is the most beautiful woman in the world. Don’s dating programme results in a whole host of hilarious situations, as he tries to re-assess his priorities, address his social awkwardness and win Rosie’s hand.
There is a suggestion that Don might be an ‘Aspie’, (has Aspergers Syndrome), but the author readily admits that he didn’t carry out any research into autistic spectrum disorders at all. Don is quirky and Rosie is the perfect contrast.
This is a popular book at the moment and it’s easy to see why. It’s very, very funny – witty dialogue, slapstick situations. I read it as a Book Club choice and when we met to discuss it, we had just as much fun! We amused ourselves by firstly trying to cast the film using famous actors – we settled upon Colin Firth and Natalie Imbruglia as Don and Rosie. After a few more glasses of Prosecco, we had even more fun casting them using people we know. Cruel? Possibly. But if you know me, I bet you can’t help wondering whether I have you tagged as the next Don Tillman?!