Thursday, 14 July 2016

'The Rosie Project' by Graeme Simsion (2013)

Synopsis: The Rosie Project is a contemporary romance novel set in Melbourne, Australia. Don Tillman is a 39 year old genetics professor on the autism spectrum and has a meticulously organised lifestyle. Don is a very intelligent and handsome man but most people find his manners awkward and confusing. Don has struggled with social norms for all of his life, has never been on a second date, and has convinced himself that he's simply not wired for love, romance and marriage. But Don then changes his mind and decides to embark on a "Wife Project" after a comment from a friend that he would make a wonderful husband. In keeping with his ultra-methodical and logical approach to life, Don then creates an online profile with a detailed questionnaire attached that should eliminate all of the unsuitable women who do not meet his exact specifications. Don's perfect wife will most definitely not be a smoker, a drinker, a vegetarian, a late-arriver or a woman with "emotional issues". However, Don then meets a 29 year old barmaid called Rosie Jarman who is all of these things and is also beautiful, intelligent, sarcastic, and fiery. Rosie is on a mission to find her long-lost father and is hoping that Don's work as a geneticist and his access to a lab can help her. Don agrees to do so in spite of his reservations and soon finds himself becoming extremely confused by his feelings towards Rosie.

I'd been hearing some great things about this book and as I've been making a bit more of an effort in seeking out contemporary fiction lately (those of you who read this blog regularly may have noticed this) I thought I'd give it a try. I'm so glad I did because The Rosie Project is easily one of the best books that I've read this year! It's a wonderfully engaging, heartwarming and quirky romantic comedy that is genuinely hilarious!

Originally Graeme Simsion wrote The Rosie Project out as a screenplay but then decided to turn that screenplay into a novel after he had trouble landing a film deal. I wasn't at all surprised to find that out as this book is not only very fast-paced and tightly-written (I managed to tear through it in just a couple of days) but has some big comic set-pieces that would probably transfer to screen brilliantly e.g. Don using his martial arts skills on a couple of overzealous bouncers, his night out as a cocktail barman, and a dance number. Given this book's success I think a big screen version of it in the near future is pretty much inevitable and that it will probably be an excellent film but having said that I still think that the book would be the better of the two for giving us access into Don Tillman's head.

Don is such a lovable, funny, well-meaning and endearing character and his narration is one of the most unique and quirky that I've come across. Don is on the autism spectrum and probably has Asperger's syndrome although this is never explicitly stated in the book since it's told in first-person and Don hasn't diagnosed himself as one. The Rosie Project has been very well-received by the Autistic/Asperger's community and by the end of the book I definitely felt that I'd gained a much greater insight into what it must be like to be a person on the spectrum. Another aspect of this book that I especially loved was its setting. Although the majority of it is set in Australia - which was great! - there are a few chapters in it that take place in New York. I'm going to New York later this year and this book has made me even more excited for my trip.

The Rosie Project is such a funny and delightful read. I loved this book and it would make for a fantastic summer/beach read! :)

Rating: 5/5

P.S. I know that Simsion has written a sequel to this book called The Rosie Effect but I've been put off by its reviews which haven't been as positive as the reviews for The Rosie Project. If I do end up reading that book it's probably not going to be any time soon.


Lianne @ said...

Great review Hannah, glad you enjoyed this book! Definitely a delightful read. Unfortunately I was one of those who didn't quite enjoy The Rosie Effect as much as the first book (I can't remember if it was because it was more of the same or if there was a plot point that I didn't's been a long while since I've read both)

Hannah said...

Thanks, Lianne! This book was such a lovely read! Also I can't remember when and where I first found out about it but I think it could have been from you :)