Thursday, October 9, 2014

Review: The Rosie Project

The Rosie Project
By Graeme Simsion
Published: October 1, 2013


MEET DON TILLMAN, a brilliant yet socially challenged professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. And so, in the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers. 

Rosie Jarman is all these things. She also is strangely beguiling, fiery, and intelligent. And while Don quickly disqualifies her as a candidate for the Wife Project, as a DNA expert Don is particularly suited to help Rosie on her own quest: identifying her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on the Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you. 

Arrestingly endearing and entirely unconventional, Graeme Simsion’s distinctive debut will resonate with anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of great challenges. The Rosie Project is a rare find: a book that restores our optimism in the power of human connection.

My review:

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I picked up The Rosie Project but having read an excerpt, I thought it at least looked promising. Don is a likable character and his bumbling attempts at dating are both funny and endearing. He has a very analytical mind and so he approaches relationships in a very original way. He also doesn't seem to have a filter and he is very forthright in sharing his thoughts which leads to some humorous situations. 

It is implied that Don might be on the Autism Spectrum but while he realizes he sees things differently than those around him, he does not seem to think he might have Asperger's Syndrome. As Don interacts with Rosie, the reader learns more about his life and way of thinking. What I found interesting is that though Rosie is so different from him and she pushes him to live outside his comfort zone, Don genuinely likes to spend time with her. He goes along with the changes that she brings to his life.

Rosie is not as fully formed a character as Don. She is quirky and I liked her but I felt that the reader does not get to know her as well as Don perhaps because his character has so much presence. Rosie is very much her own person and in a way this makes her perfect for Don. They both have issues to deal with but they fit together well and complement each other. 

I could easily see this book adapted as a romantic comedy (and indeed I think the rights have been optioned). I thought this book would be funny but I was surprised by how thoughtful it was too and how much I enjoyed the character of Don and his unique worldview.  I have since learned that there is a sequel, The Rosie Effect, to be published this December and I can't wait to read it.

My book group read this for our February book discussion and the members all really liked it. Although it was mostly a lighthearted book it did provoke discussion on relationships, friendships, and what constitutes "normal" behavior. I would suggest The Rosie Project to readers who like quirky romantic comedy (I've heard this book compared to The Big Bang Theory but haven't watched the show...). It also reminded me of the writing style of Jojo Moyes and Rainbow Rowell (particularly her books for adults). If you decide to give this book a try, prepare to be charmed :)

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Edelweiss


  1. this does sound interesting! maybe it will be a movie someday!

  2. I've seen this reviewed a few times and it always sounds good, but I've never picked it up. I'm curious about it though, it sounds fun and humorous (and maybe thought provoking too). It also does sound like it would make a good movie...


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