Book Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project

Title: The Rosie Project

Author: Graeme Simsion

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Publisher: Michael John (Penguin Group)

Publication Date: 11th April 2013 (I got to read it early!)

Paperback: 304 pages

Stand alone or Series: Stand alone

Why did I choose to read this book? I was invited to the pre-publication launch party so it would have been rude not to!

Where to read? I would recommend making your way to The Rum Kitchen, Notting Hill on a Sunday lunch to have a cocktail and a quick read!

Refreshments: Salt & pepper Calamari (sustainable of course) and a classic mojito

Review:

The Rosie Project tells the story of a socially challenged genetics professor, Don Tillman, who decides it’s time he found a wife. Due to his meticulous planning in all other areas of his life he comes up with ‘The Wife Project’, a scientifically valid questionnaire to help him find the perfect woman without wasting time on dating. That’s until he meets Rosie, who’s on the hunt for her biological father. She is the complete opposite of what he’s looking for (she smokes and is always late) but who gets under his skin and manages to change his outlook on life.

This is not the type of novel I would usually choose. I often find the genre lacks depth of character and a slapdash love heart ending – don’t get me wrong I love a good Rom-Com film but with books I usually demand a bit more substance.  However, I found this story hugely entertaining largely thanks to the utterly unique protagonist, Don, who is inherently lovable and extremely readable.

Simsion’s style of writing is brilliant for this type of character. With Don, Simsion manages to tackle the topic of Asperger’s in a straightforward, unpretentious manner and by using the first person we are given direct insight into Don’s thought processes and the way his logical mind decodes daily tasks – from an unchanging weekly meal plan to constant recalculations to ensure the stability of his daily routine.

It was this use of anecdotes woven throughout the story that created the magic that is Don. As well as his private thoughts, we are witnesses to Don’s social encounters and examples of his complete lack of adherence to ‘Social Norms’. Don’s unwavering logic gets him into a pickle on a number of occasions, one of my favourites being over the definition of the word ‘Jacket’ when confronted with a restaurant’s Dress Code, another being ‘The Apricot Ice-cream disaster,’ the meaning of which I’ll leave you to discover for yourself.

The other three main characters are important but peripheral to the main story. There are his two best friends who are in an open-marriage, Claudia and Gene and of course Rosie who plays his rather unexpected love interest. It is through these friendships and the dialogue between characters that we understand the differences between people who have a syndrome like Aspergers and those who don’t. There are many examples of this throughout the book, my favourite one being when Gene suggest that Don could be about to have ‘casual sex’.  

The best supporting character award, for me, goes to the Dean of the University he works at. She is presented humorously as a long-suffering woman of Don’s dominant personality and her patience is tested on a number of occasions due to Don’s strict adherence to rules, not to mention an interesting moment involving a skeleton that she takes brilliantly in her stride.

In summary, this is an entertaining debut novel and a nice break from my usual genre (it was very easy to read, it took me less than a week). There were legitimate laugh out loud moments and Don is certainly a character that people will enjoy reading about – who wants normal anyway!  I would definitely recommend it as a book to take on your beach holiday, however I would avoid if you prefer your stories with a bit more grit.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10 – a funny and easy read pre-order yours now!

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