“Don, can I ask you something?”
“Do you find me attractive?”
Gene told me the next day that I got it wrong. But he was not in a taxi, after an evening of total sensory overload, with the most beautiful woman in the world. I believed I did well. I detected the trick question. I wanted Rosie to like me, and I remembered her passionate statement about men treating women as objects. She was testing to see if I saw her as an object or as a person. Obviously the correct answer was the latter.
“I haven’t really noticed,” I told the most beautiful woman in the world.
Thank you, Matthew, for lending me this book. It was adorable and fun, a great little love story to read over Christmas. I found Don’s social incompetence completely relatable, especially when in a dating mindset. It’s something I have failed at over the last year or so since entering perpetual singleness (or perpetual confusion, more like it), and maybe it is because I almost have internalized my own Husband Project questionnaire, a list of qualifications guys must meet before I even agree to go on one date with them. I should actually write out a questionnaire similar to Don’s and send it out on the internet, see what kind of responses I get. Likely though, as I am a reasonably normal, unextraordinary girl, and not a tenured male university professor with a lot to offer a partner, I would only get creepy responses.
Perhaps I’ve read too many idiot savant-type books and seen too many “brilliant but mentally ill protagonist” films, but I was half-expecting there to be a big reveal in the end that Don actually has Aspergers’ Syndrome. He even said at one point in the book that a lot of things, such as mental illness, are noticeable more by those close to you, and it’s you yourself who figures it out last. His extreme routine of a schedule, his social ineptitude, emotional detachment and obvious brilliance were traits he even discussed in his lecture on Aspergers near the beginning of the book, but such a reveal was not made. In a way, I kind of appreciate that, because it lends itself away from the whole stereotyping mental illness thing that is taking over popular culture. Carrie in Homeland – brilliant CIA agent, but bipolar. John Nash in A Beautiful Mind, brilliant mathematician but schizophrenic (yes I know he was a real person). The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night Time – child with autism but very intelligent. I’m not saying that people with mental illness are incapable of having these traits, but it is a trope in popular culture that is becoming a bit overused. So with this book, not making it about a protagonist with a mental illness, and just certain behavioural traits, was definitely refreshing. Rosie also made for a fascinating love interest, and I as a reader wanted to get to know her more, but I liked that, because we were seeing her through Don’s eyes and he didn’t ask a lot of questions, I didn’t really get to know much about her until the end.
I highly recommend this book! My mom even got it for Christmas from somebody so I’m anticipating it’s going to become the new popular “it” book to read.
Books read so far: 7