Review of “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion

I was avoiding this book because of a oh-not-another-book-on-Asperger’s reaction. There have been quite a few lately. But a variety of bloggers pushed me on this one, and I’d glad they did so; it is delightful.

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The story is narrated by 39-year-old Don Tillman, a genetics professor in Melbourne, Australia who has Asperger’s syndrome. Right away Don establishes that Asperger’s should not be considered a “negative” – on the contrary, those who have Asperger’s just have differently configured brains:

“It’s a variant. It’s potentially a major advantage. Asperger’s syndrome is associated with organization, focus, innovative thinking, and rational detachment.”

But most of the time, Don isn’t talking about the syndrome, he is evincing it. He decides he needs a partner, and embarks on The Wife Project, making up a questionnaire for potential mates. He hopes in this way to eliminate:

“…the time wasters, the disorganized, the ice-cream discriminators, the visual-harassment complainers, the crystal gazers, the horoscope readers, the fashion obsessives, the religious fanatics, the vegans, the sports watchers, the creationists, the smokers, the scientifically illiterate, the homeopaths, leaving, ideally, the perfect partner or, realistically, a manageable short list of candidates.”

His criteria are fairly strict, however, and he doesn’t get many satisfactory responses, in spite of helpful input from his only two friends, his colleague Gene and Gene’s wife Claudia. Don ends up devoting his time instead to The Father Project – a quest by one of Don’s students, Rosie Jarman, to find out who her real father is. Since genetics is Don’s field, the project intrigues him. Certainly not Rosie herself – “the world’s most incompatible woman” and totally unsuitable as a partner according to Don’s criteria – and yet, he becomes irrationally committed to The Father Project, and maybe to Rosie as well.

Evaluation: Don’s literal-mindedness makes many of his thoughts and actions very, very funny, but the reader isn’t laughing at this very lovable protagonist, but with him, hoping he will beat the odds and find love, in spite of his devotion to rational systems. I certainly fell in love with him, and his story, right from the beginning.

Rating: 4/5

Note: The book has been optioned for a movie by Sony Pictures, and there is a sequel.

Published by Simon & Schuster, 2013

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14 Responses to Review of “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion

  1. Having worked with children with Asperger’s and Autism, I wholly concur with Tillman’s assessment. I hope to read this one soon.

  2. I’ve been avoiding this, but should probably give it a try…

  3. BermudaOnion says:

    My mom loved this book too. I need to try to squeeze it in.

  4. Rita K says:

    I thought you might love it. I certainly did !

  5. Ti says:

    I loved this book and I have the sequel in my hands now!

  6. I have seen so many good reviews of this book that I’m going to have to at least put it in my TBB (to be bought) pile/list.

  7. Ahahaha, I have been holding off reading this for it sounds like the exact same reasons you were. But so many bloggers have loved it now, I know I can’t hold out against it forever.

  8. Jenny says:

    I likely wouldn’t have picked this up either but someone chose it for book club. I loved it too! I really enjoyed reading it. There is a sequel coming out though and I do not have any interest in reading that one lol.

  9. Beth F says:

    I too was avoiding it. Hummm.

  10. I’m so glad you read this one and enjoyed it. It is the only fiction about Aspergers that I recommend. I’d avoid the others – including the sequel (The Rosie Effect)

  11. stacybuckeye says:

    I do want to read this one. I’m just starting my autism.asbergers fiction journey. I listened to the first cd of Shine Shine Shine and am considering abandoning it. You read it right? Will I grow to love it more?

  12. stacybuckeye says:

    or Aspergers. You know, the ones who pay attention to detail. Yeesh.

  13. aartichapati says:

    I’ve got this one on my Kindle, so probably won’t read it until I go on vacation somewhere, but looking forward to reading it then!

  14. litandlife says:

    I’ve got to find a new cord for my Nook so I can get to this one; I was so looking forward to it!

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