Love isn’t an exact science – but no one told Don Tillman. A thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, Don’s never had a second date. So he devises the Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner.
Enter Rosie – ‘the world’s most incompatible woman’ – throwing Don’s safe, ordered life into chaos. But what is this unsettling, alien emotion he’s feeling?
Graeme Simsion is an Australian author / writer and The Rosie Project is his debut novel. This was our book club read for January and and has been one of my favourite reads.
Narrated by Don the geeky techy narrative took me a few chapters to get used too. It’s very matter of fact and coincidentally reads just as the author Graeme Simsion talks. As I was reading I was hearing his voice!
Predominantly the book is Don’s search for a wife through The Wife Project and his questionnaire, which in itself is quite hilarious. I thought it was a bit like an online dating version really, if we don’t want to date a smoker we don’t send a wink or whatever! Anyway, Rosie’s the complete opposite of what Don think he wants but hey opposites attract and whilst helping her to discover her biological father’s true identity via The Father Project he starts to realise that perhaps he may have feelings for her. Feelings that are in direct contrast to The Wife Project’s Questionnaire.
Whilst Don and Rosie are investigating all the candidates in The Father Project, there are some great scenes (the lobster dinner, the ball, the cocktail making) but at one point I was really shocked at who was actually a potential father so there’s a good surprise with a twist at the end I didn’t see coming.
Although never actually confirmed, we’re led to believe that Don sits somewhere on the edge of the Autistic spectrum and I wasn’t quite sure how to react to some of the scenes which seemed to be making fun of Don and his traits. I was chuckling but I wasn’t sure that I should be. Don openly claimed to be the class clown and just accepted that even in adulthood he accepted himself as weird. I’ve only ever read one other books where the protagonist had Asperger’s and Don seemed to possess similar traits but not knowing much about it you have to go with the flow. I’d imagine others with better knowledge would probably pick it apart and say ‘oh they wouldn’t do that or behave like that’ but I found it believable.
This isn’t a conventional fluffy romance novel which I liked – it’s a bit different, very individual, with the right balance of humour, seriousness and humility and I’m really looking forward to the sequel.
p.s our book club would like to cast Benedict Cumberbatch as Don – who would you cast as Rosie?
Connect with the author Graeme Simsion