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#BookReview: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project was sent to me by a bookish friend who knew that I am nuts about Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory and advocated this book as Sheldon falling in love. I couldn’t wait to read this book, such was my excitement. And yes you guessed it right; this one is for the prompt #16 – A book gifted to me.

Title: The Rosie Project

Genre: Fiction / Lovestory

Publication: Penguin

Author: Graeme Simsion

An Australian IT expert, Graeme Simsion tried his hand at writing fiction at the age of 50 with spectacular success. The Rosie Project has been followed by a sequel which is equally well loved and the former has been optioned for movie right by Sony Films.

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Our hero and narrator is Professor Don Tillman who has Asperger’s syndrome (unknown to him) and is also mildly Autistic. He is fastidious about punctuality and working out well timed activities like shopping, cooking, etc to the last second. Don doesn’t like being touched and takes things literally, which leads to much hilarity. He works as the Associate Professor of Genetics at the Melbourne University, Australia. So being academically inclined, makes him intellectually superior to most people. Something which precludes his social engagements to almost always end in a disaster.

So much so that he has never been on a second date. He does have an issue with intimacy but more so with people saying things that they don’t mean. Don decides he will remain single till an acquaintance surprises him by complimenting him as great husband material. He ponders this for a bit and then is hit by a Eureka moment. Just like all the dating sites have a questionnaire to match the potentials, he decided he must design his own.

So begins the Wife Project where in he devises a sixteen page long questionnaire which he must now send out to all the probables out there. He would simply use analytical tools to find the “one” for him.

“I need a minute to think,” she said. I automatically started the timer on my watch. Suddenly Rosie started laughing.”― Graeme Simsion, The Rosie Project

Hilarity ensues when he mistakes Rosie Jarman to be a candidate, sent to him by his friend and colleague Gene. Missing all the social cues, he peruses her as a specimen while she is bemused by his apparent sincerity over everything. Don mistakes Rosie’s part time job as a barmaid as her full time occupation – something most unsuitable in his future partner. Also he is completely oblivious of Rosie’s sarcasm and takes everything she says literally.

In fact he totally dismisses her based on his questionnaire as she is always late, vegetarian, smokes and doesn’t cook. She never seems to follow any schedule too and takes things too far when she re-arranges his furniture. Don likes his life organized to the T and any disruption throws him off completely.

Yet he is drawn to Rosie, though he cannot say why as there was no doubt to her unsuitability as his future wife. Somehow he becomes enmeshed in the Father Project which he creates to help Rosie find her biological father. Don is after all an expert in the Genetics department.

So all their “dates” are about visiting probable candidates who could be her father and then getting DNA swabs off coffee cups or flicking toothbrushes from their homes. These are some of the really funny moments in the book though Don’s social skills ones are incomparably OTT.

“And it dawned on me that I had not designed the questionnaire to find a woman I could accept, but to find someone who might accept me.”― Graeme Simsion, The Rosie Project

I wouldn’t like to give out spoilers at this point and will just conclude the tale to say that you have to read this rib tickling book before watching the movie.

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Lasting Impression on me:

A literal minded man meets a sarcastic woman and they hit it off despite all the signs saying they shouldn’t. This is what got me hooked into the book as I found it to be an awesome take on Liz Bennet and Mr Darcy style romance. Except that Miss Bennet in this case is a headstrong, sassy, chaotic woman who works part time as a barmaid with a very sarcastic tongue. While Mr Darcy is a research mind oriented professor with a touch of Asperger’s syndrome and Autism – both unknown to him of course.

I have to hand it to the author for crafting this pair of most unlikely but genuinely original couple for this romantic tale who are drawn to each other against all odds. I was so reminded of Sheldon from TBBT and marveled at the ingenuity of the writer to imbibe that spirit in his hero. The best part about the book is that Don is our narrator and he is analyzing everyone’s actions and words to hilarious results.

The writing is witty, fast paced and flows from one comic situation to the other. It helps that the hero takes everything literally while the heroine is sarcastic to boot. Never a boring moment in the book and that for me is a huge tick.

“But I’m not good at understanding what other people want.’
‘Tell me something I don’t know,’ said Rosie for no obvious reason.
I quickly searched my mind for an interesting fact.
‘Ahhh…The testicles of drone bees and wasp spiders explode during sex.”
― Graeme Simsion, The Rosie Project

My Rating:

Are you surprised that its a 5/5 star rating? What a superbly crafted hilarious book that I couldn’t put down and finished in two days flat. I am looking forward to picking the sequel and would recommend you to pick this one straight away. One of the best books in the humor genre for me, by far.

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14 thoughts on “#BookReview: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

    1. Thanks Tulika. I am so grateful to Shilpa for gifting me this book – its just too good to be true kind of humor in it 🙂

    1. Oh you will love it Kala. I didn’t really write a full review as that would lead to too many spoilers but this book is worth a buddy read as the situations are hilarious and the fun will double then.

  1. This has been on my TBR for a really long time. Looks like I found my next listen on Audible 🙂

    Exceptional review, Shalz. I love the way you didn’t give out too much and yet made the reader want to get to the book. Awesome!

    1. Oh you are going to love this one; maybe listening to it will be an added bonus- do tell me how that goes Soumya .

  2. The wife and father projects sounds fun and seems the book carry all the ingredients to hook readers. Your review of The Rosie Project is in itself like a novel about a novel. Compelling review.

    1. Thanks Vishal- do give this a read for some hilarious laughs that I guess are much needed right now 🙂

  3. We love Sheldon, especially my son is so much in love with him that he has unconsciously started imitating him. This book is something that I would definitely like to check out.

    1. Oh you are in for a treat then Balaka- I couldnt get over the similarities and had him in my head the whole time I read this book. Its funny and crazily so. Do tell me what you thought of it once you are done with it 🙂

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