“But why, why, why can't people just say what they mean?”

10 March 2014

It's not that this blog is slowly turning into a book blog, it's just that my workdays are almost always crazy-busy these days that the little me-time I can spare has been dedicated almost entirely to reading. (My weekends are reserved for other personal projects/ pursuits and my friends, although I am not really sure if they like seeing their faces plastered all over this website. I haven't really checked LOL.) This is a book review of The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. It is easily one of the cleverest romantic comedies I have ever read and I would love to make more people aware of its existence. I chose it because of the glowing reviews it has received as I needed something fun to read after the whopping disappointment that was DivergentThe Rosie Project is an interesting love story framed by a search for an unknown father peppered with DNA testings, genetics trivia, psychology, and other things in between. Spoiler alert: I loved it. It was a really fun read and I'm glad I chose well.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver. 
Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.
I first encountered the term Asperger's Syndrome from a Daily Mail article years ago. I was fascinated by the subject and tried to read more about it because in hindsight, a guy I dated might have it as he exhibited the signs. Obviously a relationship between us didn't work out, but learning about it explained a lot.

Going back to the book, Don is aware that most people he interacts with find him different, and he is fine with that. He is awkward, he is funny, he is adorable, but he also cannot relate much to people. He reminded me of Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory a lot. For someone like me who empathizes just a little too much, it was an unfamiliar territory to tread at first. Anyway, the wheels of the story were set in motion when he set his heart on finding a wife. I felt for all the women who have had to go through the sixteen page(!!!) questionnaire, but I also couldn't help but root for Don. His predicament makes you wonder how someone so smart could be so naive.
“I've sequenced the questions for maximum speed of elimination,’ I explained. ‘I believe I can eliminate most women in less than forty seconds. Then you can choose the topic of discussion for the remaining time.’
‘But then it won’t matter,’ said Frances. ‘I’ll have been eliminated.’
‘Only as a potential partner. We may still be able to have an interesting discussion.’
‘But I’ll have been eliminated.’
I nodded. ‘Do you smoke?’
‘Occasionally,’ she said.
I put the questionnaire away. ‘Excellent.’ I was pleased that my question sequencing was working so well. We could have wasted time talking about ice-cream flavours and make-up only to find that she smoked. Needless to say, smoking was not negotiable. ‘No more questions. What would you like to discuss?”
Since the book is told from Don's point of view, we get an insight into everything that goes on in his mind with every new situation he faces. Mr. Simsion was successful in giving him such a unique voice that sounds natural and credible without mocking him and everyone who has Asperger's. He has always operated on a rigid schedule and found reading visual cues and acting properly on social functions a bit of a challenge that I found myself rooting for him and wanting to encourage him. Don's automatic inclination to describe everyone he meets according to their supposed age and BMI amused me endlessly.

Rosie, Don, and the other supporting characters are all so endearing even with all their faults. Don is a hero through and through and it was exhilarating to see him in his "normal" state, see him be smitten and not know what hit him, see him try to act according to what he's predisposed to, and see him just forego logic and surrender to love completely. Good job, Don!

I loved the references to other romantic comedies, too. I wouldn't mind dealing with Don myself as he looks like Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird although I can offer more candidates to the search for the World's Sexiest Man *wink*.

According to the acknowledgements, The Rosie Project was actually meant to be a screenplay; that explains the fast pacing and the snappy dialogue because in movies, every scene counts. I think it's great that Mr. Simsion made it a novel instead but I also would really want to see it in the big screen, with Paul Rudd perhaps playing the part of Don? I can see it now, he'll be perfect.

Rosie and Don's story is so refreshing and absolutely delightful, I didn't even mind that the results of the Father Project were a wee bit predictable. From this book, I realized that "compatibility was as viable a foundation for marriage as love." And yes, regardless of the characters' quirks, it's ultimately a story about a man who just wants to find someone to accept him for who and what he is. And really, don't we all?

The Rosie Project was an incredible read and I couldn't recommend it enough. Read it when you get the chance.

7 comments:

Diane said...

Hi Krissy! You mentioned this book in your previous posts. You actually encouraged me to purchase it from Book Depository. Thanks for the recommendation. :)


Hopefully the book will arrive soon and I'll enjoy it like you did. One thing that caught my attention, the book was related in the point of view of a male. It really gets more interesting!

Elldon King Arabit said...

Starting Over or A Wake. Or White Walls... no, maybe Jimmy Iovine. No, it's Thrift Shop. No, definitely Victory Lap. Wait , no, Castle. Or maybe Ten Thousand Hours. But Same Love is so good... and so is Neon Cathedral... or maybe BomBom. Or Wing$. No, Gold... and Cowboy Boots and Make the Money are great too... and Thin Line. Can't Hold us too.. and My Oh My. Those are my favorites.

Angel Villa said...

EVERYTHING!!!!! Ten thousand hours, thin line, white walls, wings, gold... <3 AHHH! I'm a big Macklemore fan and I love everything in their album! <3


Name: Angel Villa
EM: villamagb@gmail.com
Twitter: @wandergel

Job Galido said...

Can't Hold Us is my favorite! It's the beat that keeps me pumped up with lots of energy to keep through whatever makes me feel down.

Job Galido
jobgalido@yahoo.com

https://twitter.com/theycallmejob/status/444080570910244864

Queen said...

Can't Hold Us!! It's been in my "Wake Up in a Good Mood" Playlist


Queen San Jose
jemappellequeen@gmail.com

krissy said...

It was really a great read! Hope your book arrives soon! :)

Eula said...

This looks really interesting, I'll have to pick it up!