I’m sorry this took so long. I literally finished this charming novel over a month ago and I still haven’t brought you my thoughts. Luckily, Words For Worms‘ Fellowship of the Worms post gave me a kick in the right direction. So without further ado, here are my answers to this online book club’s questions:
1. Pop Culture question here. Did anybody else get a SERIOUS Sheldon Cooper vibe out of Don?
The short answer? YES! There are similarities, in more ways than one. This is most seen in the constant scheduling of the day, as well as the high rate of intelligence present in both individuals. And let’s not forget the awkwardness. But there are some aspects, the decidedly Asperger-leaning aspects of Don, that are not mirrored in Sheldon. At the very least, Sheldon is a bit more high-functioning than Don is, at least before Don meets Rosie.
2. Don’s social interactions are awkward at best, but his logic and adherence to routine give him some interesting habits. What’s your favorite Don-ism?
Don’s Standardized Meal System is actually something I could see myself doing. If I could only have 7 meals for the rest of my life, I would be okay with that if they were incredible gourmet masterpieces, as Don creates for each night of the week. It would definitely make grocery shopping less paralyzing (I just can’t decide sometimes, and I often end up coming home without the stuff I desperately needed!).
3. Don’s “Wife Project” involves an elaborate questionnaire designed to weed out unsuitable matches. Have you ever made a list of qualities that are important to you in a potential partner? Do you think it’s realistic to expect any one person to live up to all of them?
When I was a kid I remember making just such a list. My perfect man as described by my oddly specific 10-year-old self was a blue-eyed, black-haired cop who loved reading in his downtime. Only one aspect of that came true (black hair). By the time I hit high school, I was pretty much ignoring guys and that led me to trip right over my future husband my freshman year of college. I was lucky enough to become friends with him first, before I even considered dating him, so it really was for the best. Plus, I would be no good as a cop’s wife. I could not handle the uncertainty, and ever since I read Donnie Brasco (a book about an cop who goes undercover with the mob), I knew it was not for me.
4. What is it about Rosie that manages to break down Don’s defenses? Do you think that love requires a certain abandonment of logic?
There are two things that I think are key to the love that develops between Don and Rosie: Rosie immediately takes Don out of his comfort zone and she also accepts him like no other person has done since his sister. Don’s comfort zone revolves around logic and he would never be able to figure out how to love – or that he can actually love – without Rosie removing logic from parts of the equation. I’m right there with them. I still don’t think my husband and I make a lot of sense, but for some illogical, intangible reason we just do. I think perhaps the need to make love tangible and logical is where a lot of couples go wrong, because it is rarely either of those things.
5. What was your favorite scene in The Rosie Project?
I think my absolute favorite scene is where Rosie helps Don overcome his apparent lack of dancing skills to earn a standing ovation from his colleagues at their annual gala. This scene reveals Rosie’s ability to intuit the best way to help Don and also shows how well they can work together, even when it doesn’t make sense. Plus it was one of those moments that Don later points to as a moment where he actually felt happiness, and it’s just wonderful to imagine in your mind. I did, however, get a kick out of the scene where Don masters cocktail-making to become the hit of a party and the scene where he is asked if the Asperger Syndrome symptoms he had researched reminded him of anyone (he thoughtfully responds, “Yes,” and then points to another professor at his university, instead of to himself).
I’m not really into romance novels. Yeah, I don’t mind the theme popping up now and again in my other books, but a book about romance just isn’t my cup of tea. Lucky for me this book is more about overcoming life to connect with another individual, about abandoning logic to help someone, about breaking out of your comfort zone, and about looking into the life of a person who is likely grappling with (undiagnosed) Asperger Syndrome. Pick it up. I promise it has a minimum of sappy moments, and tons to make you think about in the meantime.