Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Pub. Date: October 1st, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
295 pages

Synopsis from Goodreads:

An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.

Being completely enthralled by a book is a very rare experience for me. I like a lot of books, but I absolutely adore very few. From the unforgettable protagonist, to the melding of uproarious humour and a lot of heart, I adored everything about Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project. 

Simsion hooked me from the very first line - “I may have found a solution to the Wife Problem”. Without knowing how similar the two characters actually are, I heard The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper speaking Geneticist Don Tillman's line in my head. Empirically motivated, Don can memorize and master the production of each cocktail in a bartender's how-to guide, but knows he struggles with emotional relationships, capable of counting the number of people he considers a friend on one hand. Don has Asperger’s, he just doesn't know it.
To minimize the amount of wasted time dating elicits in a quest to find a suitable wife, Don creates a survey, with questions related to BMI levels, alcohol consumption, and perceived intelligence. Don believes finding a life partner will be as easy as knowing what he wants, and finding someone who matches those characteristics on paper. While the reader may not be shocked, Don is quite surprised to learn just how wrong this particular bit of logic can be. There are definitely moments where Don’s way of thinking is funny, but I very much appreciate that his Asperger’s wasn't treated as a source of humour, or ‘problem’ to overcome. 

Just like the rest of us, Don is who he is, and he is loved for it.
Full of heart-warming moments, funny revelations and the most abnormal courting methods known to man, readers will easily connect with Don’s search to find another person whose personal brand of weird meshes with his. I highly recommend this novel. 

Rating 5/5

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