Books: The Rosie Project

The Rosie ProjectIs this another diet book? By some crazy inexplicable reason, I associated Rosie with Roseanne Barr. You know, as in weight loss project. The subject held no appeal for me because for the longest time I’ve been trying to gain weight. Nonetheless I flipped a couple of pages before going back to the opening sentence. I may have found a solution to the Wife Problem.


Wasn’t it a weight problem? Confused, I didn’t bother digging in. I shut the book and promptly put it back on the shelf.

Just recently, I needed to think about something and I do this by reading magazines or books. On one level, I’m reading. On another, the act of reading oils up my thinking. I remembered that I’ve an unfinished book– I always finish reading my books however long it takes. What was it? The weight loss project. Or was that a wife problem? There’s only one way to find out. I went and brought the book down.

After the first three pages…what was I thinking to have concluded that the Project had anything to do with weight?! Roseanne Barr has nothing to with the story. None at all.

The Rosie Project is about

Genetics professor Don Tillman whose life unexpectedly turns upside down when he embarks on the Wife Project – prospects are required to fill up a 16-page compatibility questionnaire – for him to filter out a suitable mate.

When a psychology PhD student-slash-bartender by night named Rosie walks into his office, Don knew she’s all wrong—dyed hair, sloppy, smokes, and habitually late. But then again, something is right about her too . . . Don just can’t recognize it at first.

As the Wife Project takes a back burner to Rosie’s project of identifying her biological father – the Father Project – Don finds himself breaking his self-imposed rules and routines in ways that are both uncomfortable and exciting.

When the Father Project takes them from their native Melbourne to New York City, and Don’s career is threatened by his allegiance to Rosie, Don must face the toughest puzzle of all—himself. Don must confront his long-held notions of what it means to love and connect with people and what it truly means to open up and trust someone.

Quietly hilarious, like you’re being privately entertained by someone blessed with deadpan humor. Like this one, the first time Don proposed to Rosie:

“If I find a partner, which seems increasingly unlikely, I wouldn’t want a sexual relationship with anyone else. 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. Ah . . .

“The testicles of drone bees and wasp spiders explode during sex.”

It was annoying that the first thing that occurred to me was related to sex. As a psychology graduate, Rosie may have made some sort of Freudian interpretation.

But she looked at me and shook her head. Then she laughed.

Who tells of insects’ private parts on proposal day? Only our anti-hero, Don. Although a guy friend tells me, I’d know I’m in serious trouble when I don’t think about sex as often as the next person does. Ha ha.

The author, Graeme Simsion, a data modeller by profession, explains that while it is not explicitly mentioned in the book, 40-year old Don exhibits signs of Asperger’s syndrome although apparently he’s in the high-functioning end of the spectrum. On top of easily churning in 300-plus pages of research proposal on “Presence of Genetic Markers for Autism in High-Achieving Individuals”, Don is an excellent cook, an aikido expert, concocts best-selling cocktails, could out-dance anybody in Dancing with the Stars, and holder of a special O-1 USA Visa for Aliens of Extraordinary Ability. Plus, as Rosie tells him, with just a change of eyeglasses and haircut, Don resembles Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird. 

Graeme is brilliant in that he explores profound (Bill Gates called this book that) themes (Don’s Asperger, Don’s couple friend’s open marriage, among others) with understated humor and in a surprisingly wholesome way.

News is that there’s a movie being planned by Sony Pictures!

And there is a sequel. The Rosie Effect, which brings readers back to Don and Rosie this time in New York City as they are about to embark on having their own family.


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