The Rosie Project
By Graeme Simsion
Simon & Schuster
Print and E-Book 320 pages
Also available as an unabridged audiobook:
Narrated by: Dan O’Grady | Length: 7 hrs and 32 mins
Book provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.
Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her as a candidate for The Wife Project (even if she is “quite intelligent for a barmaid”). But Don is intrigued by Rosie’s own quest to identify her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on The Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie―and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you. – http://books.simonandschuster.com/The-Rosie-Project/Graeme-Simsion/9781476729091#sthash.ssyHX7H7.dpuf
I thought Don’s idea of a project to find a wife is funny except I have seen too many friends set out with equally unrealistic expectations to find a husband. One guy laughs funny and another wore a short sleeve shirt to a date; no one is ever right, it seems, unless they are unattainable.
I have been married to a scientist for may years, and while he is pretty normal, many of the people we have known in his field have probably been somewhere on the Autism spectrum. So, while some of this is funny, a lot of what I read felt more like people I know than people in a comedy. Of course, sometimes I watch BIG BANG and think, “that’s not funny it’s like so and so.”
I did like how the author seemed to try to handle the foibles, the personality, the advantages and challenges of the main character, Don, who is believed by the reader to have Asperger’s Syndrome. What might have seemed bizarre without the thought processes written into the story, I helped me feel friendlier and less off-put by an unknown quantity. Of course, we cannot know if this is how the Aspergian mind really works, for as realistic as it seems to be, the author does not have Aspergers. Nor does Graeme Simision say that Don has Aspergers.
I read this for my book club, and the word there was that we all knew too many people for this to be really, really funny. The women who had read the book in German said the translations wasn’t very good.
But, what we all liked was how multidimensional Don is. I am used to reading a character with some issue/challenge being written as that issue; stereotyped. But, here Don’s particular behavior and personality are more about him and how he sees the world. We all liked how Graeme had Don he analyze situations, learn, and change when faced with a problem. His changed behaviors often led him to change his attitude or created an emotional change. He was very honest about himself. We could all do more of this; we don’t need to have Aspergers to think our attitude or belief is the way things really are.
Yes, it contributes to an understanding of people who are on the spectrum, but, blah, blah, understanding, blah, blah — we all agree that it is great when books contribute to furthering understanding. But, I just liked that the character was honest and straightforward, weird, probably hygiene challenged, but still interesting and [mostly] likeable. I liked that he could change, that communication and withholding were not the main issues for the romance, but unusually expressed and misunderstood intelligence were. I liked how when the character had a problem he talked to his friends or a specialist about it.
Several women in my club, including me felt the ending was a little fluffy, and that perhaps the author had ended it differently but then changed it to accommodate a sequel. And, I felt the character changed too much at the end.
I did believe the book could be enjoyed by both men or women and as such is not a traditional romance novel; perhaps that it is told from Don’s point of view contributes. It’s a quick and engaging read that looks at “different” people differently than ever before.