Monday, July 21, 2014

The Rosie Project

OMG…I loved The Rosie Project! I know I said The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry was my favorite book so far this year, but they say it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind and I’m exercising said right. The Rosie Project by Australian author Graeme Simsion was sweet, endearing, and funny (I was laughing out loud in parts) and unlike The Storied Life - no tears - only a silly happy grin left as proof of the experience. I loved everything about it; from its original story, to its uplifting message, but most of all, its lovably quirky romantic hero, Don Tillman.

Don Tillman is a 39-year old socially-challenged yet brilliant genetics professor, quite possibly somewhere in the autism spectrum, though Don seems oblivious to the fact. With a strict schedule for every part of his life (workouts, showers, and lest I forget, the requisite 94 minutes for bathroom cleaning on Tuesdays) as well as a standardized meal system (a set meal for each day of the week) thereby reducing the need for cookbooks and shopping, Don’s life runs like a well-oiled machine.

Don’s a quirky guy but fully aware of his social limitations, as he says given he’s tall, fit, intelligent with a relatively high status and above-average income, he should be attractive to a wide range of women. “in the animal kingdom, (he) would succeed in reproducing,” but with women, not so much; whether it’s women or making friends, both have proven a difficult feat for Don, hence his limited list of friends (only two) and the need for the Wife Project. The Wife Project involves a carefully thought out 16-page questionnaire designed to find his perfect mate (vegetarians and smokers need not apply); as for punctuality, well, apparently when it pertains to appointments, answering (b) a little early would be patently incorrect, the correct answer is (c) on time.

Don isn’t having much luck with his questionnaire, online or speed dating (his friends Gene and Claudia say he needs to practice his social skills), but then by pure happenstance he meets Rosie. Rosie is in all ways the “world’s most incompatible woman. A barmaid. Late, vegetarian, disorganized, irrational, unhealthy, smoker – smoker! – psychological problems, can’t cook, mathematically incompetent, unnatural hair color.” Yet, despite the fact that to see her again would defy all logic, he does, offering his expertise on DNA to help her identify her biological father aka the Father Project.

As the two spend more time together, Don begins to see Rosie for the beautiful and intelligent women she is, as she forces him out of his comfort zone and into the big bad world. With one madcap caper after another, including the Mass DNA Collection Subproject, a trip to New York and scaling a building, Don draws ever closer to doing the most illogical thing in the world, falling in love.

This was such an incredibly fun read; one which once started, I could not put down. A perfect love story filled with hijinks, laughs, and a teensy bit of science thrown in for good measure, featuring two vulnerable people, polar opposites in every way, that charmingly remind us that love can conquer all. A story of hope for all of us that feel a little different, with a simple reminder to grasp our dreams and face our challenges bravely, for sometimes with great risk comes great rewards.

Simsion’s characters were each so wonderfully fleshed out. I loved Don, not in spite of his quirks and awkwardness, but because of them. As for Rosie, for all of her tough girl persona, you could see her vulnerabilities, the doubts and fears carried with her since childhood. I loved that they each made the other’s life better for being in it; sure Rosie’s impact on Don’s life was more readily apparent by the end of the book, but the mere fact that (spoiler alert)…Rosie returned Don’s love, conveyed a trust she’d previously never been able to give to another man.

The Rosie Project is a MUST (yes, I’m putting it in all caps people) read!; an original, upbeat, and unforgettable book with soooooo much heart.

P.S. Since I know you’ll love The Rosie Project as much as I do, I thought I’d let you know that there is a sequel coming in the near future. Woo-hoo!! Our beloved couple is back again in The Rosie Effect, which based on Amazon will be published December 2014.