For those of you looking for a fun, lighter read as summer comes to a close-look no further than Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project. Perfect for those of you who like your comedy with a bit of romance, this is a quirky read about genetics professor who thinks he can find his perfect partner by way of a sixteen-page survey (the Wife Project).
Fans of The Big Bang Theory will fall in love with Don Tillman as the "Wife Project" suddenly takes the back seat when he meets Rosie Jarman. She doesn’t fit Don’s criteria, but Don finds himself developing a friendship of sorts with Rosie as she searches to find her biological father (the "Father Project"). Don and Rosie are total opposites, and you know what they say about opposites...
I loved The Rosie Project so much that I read it in 24 hours. Don is not the most socially adept individual, as you might have guessed from his desire to find the perfect partner by way of his survey. Don spends countless hours meticulously creating this questionnaire to filter out all of the women he deems incompatible with his own life: the drinkers, the smokers, the vegans, the late arrivers, etc. When he meets Rosie, he finds out almost immediately that she is exactly all of those things he is not looking for. I laughed out loud when Don tells her he does think she is "quite intelligent for a barmaid". Don just doesn’t quite have a handle on the nuances of conversation.
Like I said, they are total opposites. Rosie likes to fly by the seat of her pants, and Don has a minute by minute schedule that he keeps without fail. No matter, because the quest to find Rosie’s father is too intriguing to pass up for Don. Rosie and Don’s relationship grows stronger as they push each other out of their comfort zones. Don begins to embrace spontaneity as he and Rosie create signature cocktails for an event, become ballroom dancing experts, and procure the DNA from several men that are potentially Rosie’s father.
Simsion is a former IT consultant, and his attention to detail does not go unnoticed. In fact, he uses a lot of his technical detail in Don’s speech and thought. It reminds me a bit of Mark Watney’s narration in The Martian, but not quite as technical. I truly think that you’ll love going this adventure with Don, which will take you all the way from Australia to New York City.
I picked this one up because of the bright and fun cover (I know I shouldn’t have, but let’s all admit right now that we do judge books by their covers), and was pleased to find it was full of both humor and heart. The pacing is fantastic with Don always finding himself in some uncomfortable (for him) social situation. You can’t help but want to know what happens next and when you get there, you won’t believe it’s happening. The characters are realistic and likable, making you root for them to find their happy endings.
If you enjoy The Rosie Project, you’ll be happy to know there is a sequel! The Rosie Effect is just as quirky as the first, with even more uncomfortable situations for Don that most of us wouldn’t blink an eye to encounter. I won’t spoil it here, but look for a blog post soon. The Rosie Project is also in production as a page-to-screen film adaptation by Sony Pictures, and you know I’ll be first in line to see it.
TL/DR: Come for the quirky story, stay for the humor and heart.
Rating: 4 very high stars out of 5
The way to Alexandra's heart is through a great book recommendation.