Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project Graeme Simsion
The Rosie Project Graeme Simsion Cover

Title: The Rosie Project 
Author: Graeme Simsion 
Series: Don Tillman #1 
Genre: Contemporary, Adult Fiction 
Publication date: October 1, 2012 
Rating: ★★★★ 

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver. Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

How could I be sure that other people were not doing the same—playing the game to be accepted but suspecting all the time that they were different?

I had no idea what this book was going to be about. I often do this thing where I start reading without checking the back first. I knew it wasn’t young adult, but I’d had it recommended to me so many times that I just had to read it. And it didn’t disappoint. I loved it.

Don Tillman is a university professor in genetics. Saying he is socially awkward would be an understatement. But as it turns out there is a reason for his ‘strange’ and ‘unusual’ behaviour. It is implied Don has Asperger’s and although this is never confirmed, it is quite obvious he’s different.

I found it extremely interesting to read from his POV. He sees the world in a particular way. His brain is wired a little differently, but everything makes a strange kind of sense in his mind. And everything is beautifully written. It’s never suggested that it would be ‘wrong’ or ‘less good’ to think this way. Not even once. That’s really the most important part of this book. Lots of people are prejudiced against people with autism. I want them to read this book and get to know Don. I want them to realize that these people are just as human and just as great as any one of us - that they belong.

Research consistently shows that the risks to health outweigh the benefits of drinking alcohol. My argument is that the benefits to my mental health justify the risks.

Rosie was just as unique, though in an entirely different way. She was strong-minded, sharp and witty, but there was a softer, sweeter side to her as well. I liked the way she interacted with Don. How she was not afraid to tell what she thought, the good and the bad. She was fun. And it clarified that Don wasn’t the only one with issues. She wasn’t perfect either.

Don and Rosie brought out the best in each other. The way they seemed to change each other was moving. Sometimes it was really awkward as well. And I mean really awkward. But in the end, everything was worthwhile.

If you really love someone,' Claudia continued, 'you have to be prepared to accept them as they are. Maybe you hope that one day they get a wake-up call and make the changes for their own reasons.

I’m not saying this book is 100 per cent accurate. There are stereotypes and generalisations. The mood of the book is quite light, when this is probably a sometimes grave theme. But this book isn’t pretending to be an eye-opener on autism spectrum. It’s ‘just’ a love story between two people.

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