Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Graeme Simsion’s novel, The Rosie Project, is without doubt the funniest book I have read this year. It is told from the point of view of Don Tillman, a genetics professor at a Melbourne university who, nearing his fortieth birthday, is looking for a wife. The problem is that in spite of being tall, fit and reasonably good looking in a Gregory Peck kind of way, he has Asperger’s Syndrome, which can make social situations like dating difficult.

Don decides to solve his problems with The Wife Project – a questionnaire designed to weed out unsuitable candidates: women who smoke, are late, vegetarians – there is quite a list. But then he meets Rosie. She wants Don’s help to track down her biological father. Although Rosie would tick very few boxes on Don’s questionnaire – she smokes, works in a bar, is disorganised – Don is surprisingly attracted.

What transpires is a very comical screwball romance centred around two very quirky and interesting characters. Although both have their issues, Don and Rosie are hugely sympathetic. There are some very funny scenes – you can tell the author is a screenwriter – as the two go about secretly collecting DNA samples to track down Rosie’s dad. There are some poignantly sensitive scenes too that round out Don’s character, especially those that explain his family relationships.

The Rosie Project will likely be compared with Mark Haddon’s novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time as they both deal with characters with Autism Spectrum disorders. This novel is rather lighter with many laugh out loud moments, its main character learning a lot before the inevitable happy ending.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue Link: The Rosie Project

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