Sunday, March 8, 2015
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Published October 2013 by Simon and Schuster
Source: downloaded this book for my Nook
MEET DON TILLMAN, a brilliant yet socially challenged professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. And so, 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 is all these things. She also is strangely beguiling, fiery, and intelligent. And while Don quickly disqualifies her as a candidate for the Wife Project, as a DNA expert Don is particularly suited to help Rosie on her own quest: identifying 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.
The cord for my Nook died shortly after I downloaded this book. For all of the months while the Nook sat ideal, waiting for me to track down a power cord, I kept thinking about all of the books I had waiting for me. But this book is the one that was always foremost in my mind. Funny thing is, now that I've read it, it will stay in my mind for some time.
Don's life is ruled by efficiency in all things: time, money, and mental energy. Ninety-four minutes exactly to clean his bathroom, the same seven meals every week, and entire wardrobe that would fit in my purse. He takes that old romantic comedy trope, the bachelor set in his ways whose life is about to get turned on end, and turns that dial way up. And then, of course, along comes Rosie to turn Don's life on end.
Don's put together a very specific questionnaire for potential mates with very specific acceptable answers. The ideal candidate will not wear jewelry or makeup, is not late, and will occasionally eat kidneys. It is clear from the start that Rosie is not an acceptable candidate, someone Don should not be wasting time on. But he does; of course he does. He should be no more interested in Rosie than she is in him but you know they will be. Because that's the way these story lines go. Which should make the book dull.
But it's not dull. It's charming. Because Simsion is clearly very fond of his leading man. Don is a man who falls somewhere on the autism scale but he is also a man who is acutely aware of his inability to read social cues, to understand sarcasm, to handle emotion. Into his very rigid schedule, he has even made time to try to understand the world around him better. A big part of the fun of The Rosie Project is watching him succeed at that, finding new things to enjoy, making new friends, and learning to lighten up. Which is exactly what Simsion has done - taken some topics that can be heavy and handling them with a light touch. Which makes for a charming (did I mention that?) read about two very memorable characters.