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People can be jerks. Some days, it feels like a risk even to leave the house, knowing odds are good you'll encounter several jerks in the course of your day. You know who I'm talking about—the guy speeding through the grocery store parking lot in a huge truck who apparently isn't aware that pedestrians have right of way. Or the checkout clerk who informs you her lane is closed after you've waited, within her range of vision, for ten minutes. Or, in my case this week, the parking lot attendant who angrily informed us as we finished up our walk that he closes the gates at SUNSET, EVERY DAY, yet in all the time he's spent in what he clearly finds a frustrating occupation hasn't come up with a way to inform people of this fact in a polite manner. 

(The sky was still streaked with purple and pink. Be ye warned: when the sign says the park closes at dusk, that means the moment the sun disappears below the horizon, and not a second later. Frankly, I find it odd that the park's operating hours are articulated through such an archaic and ambiguous measure of time. Perhaps the attendant was so grumpy because he is tired of monitoring the exact times of sunrise and sunset and irritated by the utter lack of routine in his constantly-changing schedule.)

When you've had a higher-than-normal concentration of Jerk Encounters over a short period of time, the only suitable course of action is to temporarily divorce yourself from your current reality and engage in a better, sweeter, more pleasing world. This book is a great place to start.

Don Tillman is a genetics researcher and professor living in Australia. He is, to say the least, a quirky fellow. Don is academically brilliant, but has trouble interacting with people without committing social errors. His friend Gene works at the same university and agrees to help with what Don has termed the “Wife Project.” Don has decided the best way to find a compatible romantic partner is through scientific research.

First, Don creates a questionnaire with a rigorous scoring algorithm that will allow him to quickly rule out women who are incompatible with some aspect of his life or personality. He also experiments with other dating methods, like speed dating and singles mixers, with unsuccessful but hilarious results. Then he meets Rosie, apparently sent by Gene as a candidate for the project. Don knows immediately that she is unsuitable as a mate, but is intrigued by her anyway: Rosie is trying to identify her biological father. As a geneticist, Don is the perfect man for the job.

Don's narration is sweet and honest, and downright hysterical as he describes the ridiculous situations in which he unwittingly finds himself. His romance with Rosie is refreshingly unique, and their ending well-earned. If you like endearingly awkward characters like Jim Parsons' Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory or Benedict Cumberbatch's interpretation of Sherlock Holmes for the BBC series Sherlock, you will absolutely adore Don Tillman.