Don Tillman decides he wants a wife. Not an unusual situation, certainly, but

Don has Asperger’s syndrome

and has had lifelong difficulties relating to people in general, let alone to women in whom he has a romantic interest. Brainpower, though? Don’s got it spades.

He is a brilliant genetics professor.

Thus, he decides to employ his considerable analytical talents to what he terms his “Wife Project.” develops a multi-page questionnaire designed to zero in on prospective candidates positive and negative qualities. Once he winnows the field, he figures, he’ll be able to settle on the ideal mate.

He turns to his friends, Gene and Claudia for advice, expecting rave reviews on his diagnostic tool.

Predictably, their reaction is thumbs down. He tweaks and revises, goes on a few unsuccessful dates. Finally, he runs into Rosie, who is a completely unacceptable candidate. As such, she is someone who can be a non-threatening sounding board. From this unlikely beginning, Rosie and Don begin to develop their unlikely relationship.

What follows is in many ways quite predictable. What makes the book work despite its rather hackneyed plot is Rosie herself.

She’s not predicable. She’s funny, and completely engaging. As the narrative continues, the “Wife Project” turns into the “Rosie Project” and then into something else entirely.

Dive into this book and meet Rosie. You’ll number her among the top literary characters you’re likely to meet all year.