The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is the ultimate feel-good read, ideal for beating the January blues.
Don Tillman is a 39-year-old Professor of Genetics who is very intelligent but struggles to conduct himself in social situations. He’s never been on a second date and resigned himself to the fact that he’s not cut out for romance. However, when someone mentions in passing that he’d make a great husband, he embarks on The Wife Project. In his organised, scientific way of doing things, he puts together a detailed questionnaire for potential partners. That way, he can sift out all the drinkers, smokers, vegetarians, poor time-keepers and other unsuitable candidates to avoid wasting his time.
The antithesis of what he’s looking for, Rosie disrupts Don’s orderly, regimented life when his colleague and one of his only friends, Gene, sends her his way. Despite being the completely wrong woman for him, Don helps Rosie with her own project to find her biological father, finding ways to take unsuspected DNA samples from contenders. Working together, an unlikely friendship blossoms which forces Don to confront feelings he’s never experienced before and venture further outside his comfort zone than he’s ever been.
It’s never explicitly stated but it’s heavily implied that Don has Asperger’s, which makes his narrative voice unique and utterly absorbing. I enjoy books that take the reader inside the head of someone whose mind works in a different way and Don reminded me of one of my favourite fictional characters, Eleanor Oliphant. Totally socially unaware, Don’s logical, inflexible mind lands him in sticky situations that only make him more endearing.
It was refreshing to read a romantic comedy not only written by a male author but told from a male perspective and The Rosie Project is heart-warming and hilarious in equal measures. Don and Rosie’s memorable story is a poignant reminder that love doesn’t follow a path and perfection doesn’t exist, so we should stop seeking it in ourselves and others.
I’m not sure how I’ve only recently got around to reading The Rosie Project but luckily for me, that means there are two more books in the series I can get stuck into straight away!
“And how could I be sure that other people were not doing the same—playing the game to be accepted but suspecting all the time that they were different?”