In 2013, Asperger’s Syndrome will no longer officially exist – according to the updated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American psychiatric manual used as a diagnostic bible around the world. Ironically, just as it begins its slow fade from the cultural landscape, Asperger’s attracts its own romantic comedy. The Rosie Project joins Toni Jordan’s Addition in this fledgling genre – the (screwball) romance of difference. In Bridget Jones’s Diary, the heroine knows that she has found her man when he declares that he likes her ‘just as you are’. Addition, with its obsessive-compulsive counting heroine, expanded the boundary of what that essential, loveable self can encompass; so does The Rosie Project, with its self-described ‘differently wired’ hero, Professor Don Tillman.
Jo Case is senior writer/editor for the Wheeler Centre. Her previous roles have included editor of Readings Monthly, the newsletter for Readings Books & Music, books editor of The Big Issue, co-editor of their annual fiction edition, and associate editor of Kill Your Darlings. Her reviews, essays and opinion pieces have been published in The Age, The Australian, and The Sydney Morning Herald, and her short stories have been published in the Sleepers Almanac and Best Australian Stories. Her first book, Boomer and Me: A memoir of motherhood, and Asperger’s, was published by Hardie Grant in Australia (April 2013).