Book Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

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.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.     – from Goodreads.

My Rating:  ★★★★

My Thoughts:  

I first heard about The Rosie Project when I saw a comment on Twitter that someone’s library had a request queue of over 100 people for this book. Such a high number instantly caught my attention, so I decided to find out more. The blurb made the book sound really good, so I was pleased to find my own library had a much shorter waiting list, and it wasn’t long before I settled to reading…

What followed was a quirky, unconventional, romantic read – how many more books can you recall where the hero decides to search for a life compatible partner by designing a rigorously detailed questionnaire meeting all his very specific requirements then selecting a person who matches up perfectly with the ‘right’ answers?

Don, whilst admitting he is socially awkward, makes for a unique and engaging narrator as he undertakes The Wife Project whilst adhering to his particular daily routines, such as The Standardised Meal Plan, (Don is a man who likes everything in his life to be in order).

As the Wife Project fails to offer up any suitable potential partners, Rosie is unexpectedly thrown into Don’s path. Assuming she is a Wife Project candidate Don rationally knows that Rosie is everything he shouldn’t be looking for (she’s often late, she smokes, she’s vegetarian), yet he’s instinctively drawn to helping her as she searches for her biological father. Their team effort becomes The Father Project as they try to trace the man who was the short-lived fling from her mother’s graduation party years before.
Whatever Don’s rational mind tells him about Rosie‘s suitability as a life partner, he can’t seem to tear himself away from her and helping her find out the truth about her heritage, and he slowly but surely realises that he’s falling in love, but has the realisation arrived too late?

This is truly unique take on the conventional romance and had some real laugh out loud moments. I won’t include them here for fear of spoiling them, but more than once I found myself glad there was no one else around while I was reading because I was laughing aloud.  (I’ll put my absolute favourite moments at the end of this review, under a Read More cut, so you don’t have to read them).
There were also some charming moments of triumph for Don and Rosie; as he loosened up in her company and grew more accustomed to being with her, his non-academic talents came to the forefront, which made for very enjoyable reading.

I loved both Don and Rosie and really hoped they would resolve their differences in the end.
I thought it was lovely how Don’s view started to change as he realised that some of the happiest moments of his life were moments he had shared with Rosie.
I will definitely be reading the sequel to this enjoyable book.

The Rosie Project

The two scenes which I must give an honourable mention to are:

When faced with the prospect of a sexual encounter with Rosie, Don finds a book of positions and starts trying to act them out with an anatomical skeleton, which is funny in itself, but made all the more hilarious when the Dean walks in on him and assumes he’s trying to repair the skeleton. As Don observes to himself – it’s a good job he kept his clothes on!

Whilst searching for Rosie’s father, Don and Rosie go to a cosmetic surgeon who becomes suspicious about their interest in him. Detecting there may be trouble ahead, Don makes excuses to go to the bathroom, then phones the clinic saying he is the husband of a patient and her lips have exploded. Rosie makes her getaway while the man is distracted while Don exits via the bathroom window and scales down the side of a building.

Great stuff!



9 thoughts on “Book Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

  1. becquij says:

    I felt the same about this book, I too was laughing out loud at it! I’ve just lent it to a friend and she keeps texting me excerpts that she is finding funny – and now i just want to read it all over again 🙂


    • pagesandtea says:

      I love it when a book makes me laugh. I could just picture some of those scenes so clearly that I couldn’t help laughing, and there were loads of other which made me smile too. I would definitely read the book again.


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