Title: The Rosie Project
Author: Graeme Simsion
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 2013
Genetics professor Don Tillman is what you might call a genius. Highly intelligent and logical, he tends however to lack some basic interpersonal skills . . . okay, a lot of basic interpersonal skills. He systematically and logically arrives at the conclusion that it is time to get married so he devises a sixteen-page questionnaire that prospective wife candidates will complete. Scientifically designed to link Don with the most ideal mate, it is the perfectly logical solution for this socially awkward academic. After a date or two, Don tweaks the questionnaire to fine-tune his desired outcome.
In walks Rosie Jarman. She quickly fails the questionnaire: she smokes, she drinks more than Don’s allotted amount of daily alcohol intake, AND she is a vegetarian. For a man who has specific meat based meals for each day of the week, this is a deal breaker. She is all wrong for him. However, Don becomes involved in Rosie’s life as he helps her on her quest to find her biological father.
Rosie pushes Don out of his comfort zone and grudgingly a friendship begins to develop. From spontaneous trips to New York (they live in Australia) to moonlighting as a bartender, Don begins to spread his wings and look at the world through different glasses. Friendships, love, and relationships don’t always follow the rules of science; sometimes, they just are.
I so loved this book!! It made me laugh out loud while also causing me to cringe at some of the comments and actions of the characters. A bit socially awkward myself, I could relate to Don’s discomfort; however, his complete obliviousness to the ramifications of his words and actions were truly entertaining.
The author does a fantastic job at showing Don’s growth as both a person and a human through his interaction with others. The book could have gone with a very stereo-typical character, but instead there is depth and layer to who Don is. His relationship with his family and friends, his status among his colleagues, his perception of his students and who they see him to be all grow and develop independently of one another while building on the character that he is.
Rosie is a delight herself but her own growth is seen through Don’s changing perception of her. I am not sure if she actually changes herself, but his view of her makes it seem as though her own character evolves.
The fact that the author is a former IT consultant and author of two non-fiction books on database design adds a completely separate dimension to the story-telling. I think that the author might be able to well relate to Don. And it is quite admirable that at age 50, he decides to try his hand at fiction and the book is the result.
Who might like this book:
If you are a fan of Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory or love Zach Addy from Bones, I guarantee you will love Don Tillman. Very intelligent, very nerdy, and very enduring. Readers will find themselves rooting for Don while cringing at his mistakes. The second book in the series, The Rosie Effect, is also available . . . and happens to be sitting in my Amazon shopping cart.