Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
(Don Tillman #1)
October 1, 2013
295 pages
Genre: Adult Fiction, Chick-Lit
Contains: strong language, sexual references
Source: Personal purchase

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.

I initially started The Rosie Project, and then swiftly set it aside because of Don's friend Gene, who just gave me the major willies. A creep disguised as a professor of genetics. But when my book club chose this one, I knew I needed to give it another chance. And I'm so glad I did.

Don's attempt to find a wife via his self-created 'The Wife Project' was equally humorous and painful to read. Unintentionally humorous on Don's part, as his intentions were entirely serious and scientific, yet the outcomes to some of the things he did were witty, awkward, and funny. Painful because as an outsider we can see all the ways this project is going to go horribly wrong, but we need to go along on this ride with Don to see how it all fares. The situations Don gets himself in were fun to read and grabbed my curiosity on how things would all turn out for this well-intentioned yet socially awkward fellow.

But then we get to meet Rosie, who is such a fantastic match for Don. This is not an insta-love situation. This is two people put together with a little finagling from a friend, and yet what develops is something quite unique and extraordinary. Watching Don draw closer and closer to Rosie as they set off to explore 'The Father Project' he developed for her was such a treat. I loved how the interactions between Don and Rosie developed. I loved their intriguing characters, personalities, and how such different people could bring out so much wonder and beauty in the other.

So outside of my feelings about Gene and his marriage, I loved this book. (Now I can admit that Gene and his lifestyle was probably used as a foil and opposing view on what Don's relationship and refined intentions turned out to be. But that doesn't mean I liked him.) But overall, reading Don and Rosie's story was a real treat and I would definitely recommend it.

4 to 4.5 Stars

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