Monday, February 25, 2013

Review - The Rosie Project

The Rosie Project
by Graeme Simsion
Published by Text Publishing

It’s one of the first books in 2013 to garner loads of industry and reviewer buzz and the author is a Kiwi!

Auckland born now Melbourne based, author Graeme Simsion’s debut novel, The Rosie Project, is a sweet, hilarious and utterly unique take on the age old quest to find true love. His hero is undiagnosed Aspergers sufferer and professor of genetics Don Tillman, a man who is more than a touch unconventional. For instance he lives his life by a carefully created life and meal schedule timed to the minute – meaning he loathes change or uncertainly – but is without doubt, intellectually brilliant and socially awkward in equal measure.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, Don is more than a little unlucky in love but hits upon an idea to find his ideal wife – a questionnaire (which stretches to 16 pages no less!) to weed out women who don’t meet his extensive perfect match criteria. No “time wasters, the disorganised, the ice cream discriminators, the visual harassment complainers, the crystal gazers, the horoscope readers, the fashion obsessives, the religious fanatics, the vegans, the sport watchers, the creationists, the smokers, the scientifically illiterate, the homoeopaths, leaving, ideally, the perfect partner…”


Of course the one person Don does fall for, Rosie Jarman, would never get a pass mark on “The Wife Project” survey but through a series of misunderstandings, this woman with her many imperfections – and a quest of her own- turns out to be absolutely perfect for Don. If only he could put aside science to see it.

This feel good comedic novel was originally written as a screenplay by Simsion and picked up the Australian writers Guilt/Inception Award for Best Romantic Comedy. After adapting it into a novel, Simsion then picked up another prestigious award with his unlikely love story, the 2012 Victorian Premier’s Literacy Award for an unpublished manuscript. The rights for the novel have been sold in over 30 countries worldwide and have netted the business-consultant-turned-full-time-writer a six figure advance.

So is The Rosie Project worth several million dollars and hundreds of column inches of glowing reviews?

Yes indeed.

The wonderful thing about The Rosie Project is the characters. Professor Don Tillman is a truly original voice. I loved the insight into how his Aspergers mind works, how detailed and literal his brain is and all the little tricks he’s learned to decipher and react to what often seems to him to be unfathomable human behaviour. In Rosie, we have a fresh, feisty and straight talking love interest with a huge heart and an intriguing story line of her own; a quest to find her biological father harnessing Don’s superior genetics knowledge and skills. Meanwhile straight-laced Don’s sex mad friend and colleague Gene provides a perfect comedic foil as well as an interesting marriage survival subplot.

Oozing warmth, fun and just a little bit of oddness, The Rosie Project is a cleverly written, funny and entertaining debut novel well deserving of the huge acclaim it has enjoyed – and I’m delighted to be able to add my own two cents worth of praise to it too.

1 comment:

Jacki said...

I've heard this is really good. I have it reserved at the library.