The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is quirky, heart-warming and oh so endearing. This debut novel is a joy to read from beginning to end. Don Tillman, brilliant genetics professor, has a hyper-organized life ruled by logic and statistics. With his fortieth birthday fast approaching, Don decides it is time to find a wife. Though handsome, brilliant and financially secure, his lack of social savvy makes this a difficult endeavor.
Don launches the “Wife Project”, a hilarious 16- page questionnaire painstakingly created to vet potential candidates. Smokers, make-up wearers, vegans-“incredibly annoying” and those not punctual are immediately disqualified.
Don acknowledges that having Asperger’s, having a brain wired differently might be contributing to the difficulty, but he remains optimistic. Some of the book’s best moments revolve around Don’s attempts to improve social skills he’s not proficient in. His pragmatic approach to master the art of ballroom dancing is outstanding.
Enter Rosie, a disorganized smoking, swearing bartender/ student who is never on time. Rosie wants Don to help her solve the mystery of who her biological father is. Against his better judgment and with much reluctance he agrees. Don’s orderly, regimented life of exacting schedules, judgmental conclusions and little emotion is about to take a drastic turn.
Characters are well crafted, with depth and frailties that make them very human. Don’s earnest desire to understand the needs of others so that he may have a chance at love makes us root for him from the very start. And Rosie, with her chaotic and messy life is just the girl to help him do it.
Poignant and thought provoking on several levels, this square peg in a round peg world tale is enchanting. And while it is obvious from the beginning where this story is going, you’ll find it hard to put down until all is resolved.