Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Don Tillman is a professor of genetics. He wants to find a wife. He also has Asperger's Syndrome or something like it and has trouble making friends, much less getting to a second date. He comes up with a Wife Project questionnaire to aid him in his search. Into his life comes Rosie, a woman who is seeking assistance in determining which of her mother's old classmates is her biological father. Rosie could not be further from Don's idea of the perfect mate, and you can guess what happens from there.

The Rosie Project is a clever and entertaining book. Although it's pretty clear how the romance is going to end, it still took some surprise turns and fully engaged me as a reader.

It was not a perfect book for me for a few reasons. At the beginning of the book, I didn't much like Don, Rosie, or Don's best friend, the philandering Gene. Eventually I got past this but it did slow down my enjoyment of the book in the early chapters.

The book is narrated by Don, and I was reminded of a criticism I read of The Big Bang Theory. The author complained that we are not laughing with the geeky nerds of the popular television show, but at them. I didn't agree with everything the author of that criticism said but thought some legitimate points were made, and they apply to The Rosie Project as well. There are many times when Don says or does something that we as readers are supposed to find funny that Don would not.

Also, in chapter eleven, Rosie convinces Don to leave a cafe without paying the bill. I believe we are supposed to see this as a sign of progress in Don, that he can stop being so rigid and such a rule follower now that he has met Rosie, but in my opinion anyone who leaves a cafe without paying the bill is just a jerk. In no way can that be considered a sign of growth, and on top of that Rosie is a part-time bartender and I did not buy that she'd be willing to stiff a waiter just because it was convenient. (There was no problem at the cafe or with the waiter.)

Still, I found it highly enjoyable and readable. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes The Big Bang Theory or quirky romance with a satisfying ending.

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