Don Tillman is autistic and sees the world through the lens of logic without a lot of emotion because he is simply incapable of it. His brain is not wired that way. The subtleties of humour and sarcasm are lost on him, which is what makes the book hilarious (a bit like Sheldon in the The Big Bang Theory). He thrives in an atmosphere of routine, predictability, and of course science. When Don decides that it might be advantageous to acquire a partner, he sets out on the Wife Project. Of course the survey he devises as a means for finding a suitable candidate efficiently, is totally objective and meant to screen out people who smoke and drink, who are chronically late, overweight, vegetarian etc. But into his life walks Rosie, who meets none of the right criteria, but has quite an unexpected effect on him!
When I did my usual research on the author, I was surprised by what I found. Before Graeme Simsion’s mid-life career change to novelist, he was an information technology consultant with a PhD! He decided to go into screenwriting which then led him into writing ‘The Rosie Project’. He found himself to be uniquely qualified in this new endeavour despite what the skeptics might say about going from technology to writing novels. Actually the processes and skills used in design theory for data-modelling transferred well to the writing, helping him with the construct of the novel. See his Ted Talk where he describes this a bit more.
In an era when many people undergo mid-life career shifts, the story of the author is as compelling as the Rosie Project itself and is very encouraging. The creative elements you know in one field, can help you in a seemingly unrelated field if you are willing to think outside of the box and apply what you know to something new.