Monday, September 7, 2015

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Reviewed by Ambrea

Don Tillman is a brilliant but socially awkward professor and geneticist—and he has decided it’s time he found a wife.  Thus, he designs the Wife Project:  a sixteen-page, scientifically validated survey which will help him weed out the smokers, the drinkers, the late arrivers, the vegetarians, and other individuals ill-suited to his search.  Like Rosie Jarman.

Rosie smokes, she drinks, and she always arrives late.  Don quickly dismisses her as a candidate for his Wife Project, but he’s quickly pulled into her life when Rosie asks him to help her identify her biological father.  Set on completing the Father Project, Don and Rosie begin a crazy and dysfunctional quest that takes them across the country—and even across the world—as they search to find matching DNA…and something extraordinary:  a deeper attachment that neither of them saw coming.

The Rosie Project is an unexpectedly adorable romantic-comedy with endearing characters and hilarious situations that left me laughing.  Don is a wonderful narrator.  Socially awkward, but incredibly bright, Don weaves an intelligent and thoughtful story about the concepts of friendship, family, and love.

Don is brilliant, an absolute genius, and he’s such a quirky lovable character that his faults, such as they are, become part and parcel of who he is.  Don is sometimes difficult to understand, seeing as how his IQ is rather astronomical and he’s still learning “social protocols,” but he’s a wonderful character and an excellent narrator nonetheless.  Moreover, he’s candid, thoughtful, and oblivious to the obvious, but he’s a stickler for the rules.

Until he meets Rosie.

I absolutely loved the dynamic between them—how they interact, how they manage to make the other laugh—and I loved that Rosie was able to coax Don out of his shell and that they were able to grow together in a relationship.  Don, in particular, undergoes a startling change in his efforts to help Rosie:  he’s willing to break the rules and put social convention aside just for her.

It’s romantic, it’s sweet.  And, as they proceed with Rosie’s Father Project, it’s an epic adventure of comical proportions.  They get into some crazy situations (even going so far as to fly to New York City!), and they make mistakes; however, they develop and learn and discover—and, more importantly, they fall in love.

Some aspects of Rosie’s search are incredibly sad, such as the fate of her mother and Geoffrey Case. Similarly, Don’s quest (i.e. his Wife Project) is silly, but it’s sad at the same time.  Like Rosie, he’s searching for a sense of belonging, a feeling of community and closeness—and love—that he’s never quite encountered.  Truthfully, it’s a little heartbreaking.

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