Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

This is the word “cute” in book form. I am so glad that I happened to be drawn into this bright red cover at a random trip to Goodwill.

(And I’m so excited to know that this is the Australian edition cover. Now, I have to track down the sequel in the same edition. Hello, Book Depository!)

Book surprises are the best things ever. You’ll never really know if you’re going to like a book until you get into it. To be perfectly honest, I picked up this book out of desperation. I was going to Little Tokyo after work and I knew I had a two-hour wait until I met up with my brother so I headed off to Goodwill for cheap reading material. I didn’t find anything to my liking until I saw this book. I saw another copy in the blue cover, the US one I think, but I opted for this one instead. I’ve heard of this book before. I didn’t know much about it. I didn’t have any expectations. Contemporary isn’t even my genre. But something about it made me want to read it.

Don Tillman is single. He is very smart, an established academic specializing in genetics with a reputable job, a good home, and interesting hobbies. He has a few friends and loves a good drink. And he is out looking for a wife. But he’s not doing it in the conventional way. You know, going out and meeting people – or going online and striking up a conversation with someone who sparks his fancy. No, he’s doing it in the most precise and academic way possible.

He called it “The Wife Project”. It is a questionnaire for the woman to answer so Don can weed out those that doesn’t fit the criteria. She has to satisfy every single item to his liking. She can’t smoke, drink, must have a certain GPA, should not have any hereditary defect, etc. It’s ridiculous. Understandably, no one made the cut. Hey, no one is perfect.

Until Rosie comes along. Rosie Jarman smokes, drinks, works at a bar, curses… everything that Don frowns upon. But there was something about her that Don couldn’t explain. And he couldn’t get rid of her.

Spoiler(s) ahead.

It wouldn’t take too long to realize that Don is… well, Don is on the autism spectrum. He is (very) high functioning but he lacks social skills and emotion. It’s hard for him to make friends and maintain friendships. He is very set in his ways and he lives in routine. Rosie shook all of that and Don welcomed that change. Little did he know that he was feeling something way deeper.

I found myself flying through this book. It was funny, light, a bit frustrating at times (I felt that the questionnaire did objectify women a bit – but that’s for another topic). Yet it was entertaining. I was rooting for Don to find – and REALIZE – happiness and for Rosie… well, she has her own story to tell. Before I realized that Don was on the autism spectrum, I was wondering about the quirky writing. I liked it; it kept me going. The book never really tells you outright about Don’s condition but the moment you realize it, the more you’ll appreciate the style and Don’s inner dialogue.

Both characters were in the search for something. Don, for a wife. And Rosie, for her father. Yet, she never treated Don as a father figure. I don’t event think she was actively looking for a husband. Both of them just kind of entered each other’s lives at the perfect moment. This part of the story was really but although a bit predictable. I still liked the twist.

Overall, what a fun and charming read! Perfect as a beach read or a warm afternoon at the park. I should know, I read most of this book outdoors. I cannot wait to get the matching sequel, The Rosie Effect.

Rating: 5/5. Such a feel-good novel.

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5 thoughts on “Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

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