Title: The Rosie Project
Author: Graeme Simsion
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Publication Date: 2nd January 2014
Goodreads Summary: Meet Don Tillman. Don is getting married. He just doesn't know who to yet. But he has designed a very detailed questionnaire to help him find the perfect woman. One thing he already knows, though, is that it's not Rosie. Absolutely, completely, definitely not.
[ Review ]
Don is a little different. He has Asperger's syndrome (though he himself fails to recognise this) and so can be rather blunt and socially awkward. Often missing basic human signals Don frequently misinterprets situations and thus finds himself with very few friends and no wife. Here comes in: The Wife Project. Don creates a questionnaire that he believes is a foolproof way of finding a wife. Although there are four answers to every question, only one of them is correct in Don's eyes and a woman must score 100% on the test before he'll consider taking her out on a date. But then there's Rosie, the complete opposite of what Don is looking for, but something keeps bringing him back to her.
I've heard so many good things about The Rosie Project ever since it was published so I couldn't wait to get my claws into this on my holiday away. This is the perfect holiday read for those who are looking for something that is light-hearted and funny but not wishy-washy. Whilst this book is about finding love, its not sappy in the slightest because it is written from the perspective of Don and he is the sort of man who listens to reason, and not his emotions (the few that he has). It's incredibly funny because you get to see right into the mind of Don, a bizarre man, who doesn't think like the rest of us. His reactions to social situations and general human interaction are incredibly amusing, as is his lack of comprehension. To the reader, it is obvious what is going on, but to Don it is not, so you yourself feel like you're a part of the novel, keeping something from Don. You know something that that doesn't and there's always something exciting about knowing something your favourite character does not. I grew very fond of him as the novel progressed and his character development over the course of the story is truly heart warming.
Rosie, too, is a character that you start to root for, and I really admired her for treating Don like an adult, like any other man, and didn’t change, adapt or explain anything to him, preferring to leave him to develop himself. There are a lot of unspoken thoughts and feelings in The Rosie Project, which are all glaringly obvious to the reader, so the more you read, the more desperate you are for all to be revealed and a real sense of momentum builds up. Despite this, I wouldn't say that the story is all that predictable in that Graeme Simsion still leaves the possibility for sudden plot twists and as Don is not your typical man, you can never be quite sure what he's going to do.
This isn’t the sort of romance that gives you butterflies, it’s not a whirlwind romance and it’s not love at first sight. This story develops a beautiful relationship between two people who are both a bit quirky and it is because of that you keep reading. It’s not full of grand gestures; this is about true love based on personalities, which I thought was very refreshing.
What’s more, the plot isn’t all about Don and Rosie, it’s much bigger than that. This pair work incredibly hard trying to solve the mystery of who Rosie’s father is – an experiment that leads them on many adventures, all of which are hilarious. The ‘romance’ is at once one of the main features and one of the side notes. It’s always there but rarely explicitly discussed.
In addition to Rosie and Don there are Don’s best friends, Gene and his wife Claudia. These supporting characters are essential to the plot line, slowly helping Don along without explicitly giving him a shove in the right direction. Claudia acts as a sort of mother figure to Don, offering him kind advice whenever he is in need. Gene is the opposite – he is a researcher in human attraction who’s trying to sleep with women from every single country. For research purposes of course. There are lots of characters in this book that have ‘clashing’ personalities, and yet somehow Graeme Simsion manages to mash them all together giving each individual character a different role in the novel.
All in all, this is a fantastic and hugely funny read. At the start of the novel, Don is the sort of man who has his weekly schedule planned out to the hour and throughout the novel we see huge changes taking place in life, all because of Rosie. This novel is quite as predictable as it may first seem Rosie’s spontaneity mixed with Don’s unpredictability make it difficult to really know what’s coming next. It’s rare to find a love story as gently and finely developed as this so I’d highly recommend this to anyone who’s bored of your stereotypical fictional romances.