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The Rosie Project: A Novel Paperback – June 3, 2014
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, October 2013: Full of heart and humor, Simsion’s debut novel about a fussy, socially-challenged man’s search for the perfect wife is smart, breezy, quirky, and fun. Sure, it’s the precise equivalent of a well-crafted romantic comedy. (In fact, the book was clearly written with the big-screen in mind, and the film rights have already been sold). But you’d have to be a pretty cynical reader not to fall for Don Tillman, a handsome genetics professor who has crafted a pathologically micromanaged life for himself but can’t seem to score a second date. After launching his Wife Project, which includes a hilarious questionnaire intended to weed out imperfect candidates--smokers, makeup wearers, vegans (“incredibly annoying”)--Don meets Rosie, a stunning, maddeningly disorganized bartender/student who’s looking for her biological father. The reader knows just where the story is headed: Rosie’s so wrong for Don, she’s perfect. That’s not giving anything away. Half the fun of the book is watching pent-up, Asperger’s-afflicted Don break free, thanks to Rosie, from his precisely controlled, annoyingly sensible, and largely humorless lifestyle. By the final third, you’re cheering for Don to shatter all his rules. And you’re casting the film. --Neal Thompson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*Starred Review* Genetics professor Don Tillman’s ordered, predictable life is thrown into chaos when love enters the equation in this immensely enjoyable novel. Never good with social cues, Don explains his difficulty empathizing with others, which he forthrightly says is a defining symptom of the autism spectrum, as a result of his brain simply being wired differently. Diagnosis is not the issue here, as the reader is rooting for Don as he searches for ways to fit in. With his fortieth birthday approaching, he designs a questionnaire to find a compatible female life partner using his overriding devotion to logic. But he finds his quest competing with the request of a woman to discover the identity of her biological father. The protagonist is passingly similar to that of Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003), but Simsion’s first novel is not as dark, focusing instead on the humor and significance of what makes us human. Don is used to causing amusement or consternation in others, but as his self-awareness and understanding grow, so do his efforts to behave more appropriately. Determined and unintentionally sweet, Don embarks on an optimistic and redemptive journey. Funny, touching, and hard to put down, The Rosie Project is certain to entertain even as readers delve into deep themes. For a book about a logic-based quest for love, it has a lot of heart. --Bridget Thoreson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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This is how he describes himself: "I am thirty-nine years old, tall, fit and intelligent, with a relatively high status and above-average income as an associate professor [of genetics]. Logically, I should be attractive to a wide range of women. In the animal kingdom, I would succeed in reproducing."
Don needs a wife so embarks on what he calls "The Wife Project", involving an on-line questionnaire rather than the traditional dating paradigm. As women are more complex and the powers of attraction have more to do with chemistry his methods are doomed to fail.
I nevertheless felt endeared to Don's character. He tries so hard, and his heart is in the right place, but he bungles it with women every time. When beautiful, smart Rosie enters his life he falls for her immediately (without knowing it, of course, because she doesn't fit the questionnaire), and although the feeling is mutual, he frustrated the hell out of me by messing up the relationship time and again. I won't give away the ending, but suffice to say Rosie is a saint and Don is an absolute clot. I enjoyed the read and give the book 3.5
The story was told so well and portrayed the characters with such clarity that I could not stop reading. There were so many social and relationship issues to think about and consider. Don, our main character, is an undiagnosed Asperger's Syndrome adult who is extremely smart and unusual. What is obvious to the read completely blind sights him. Graeme Simsion has done a magnificent job at clearly portraying his characters to the reader - I simply couldn't help myself but to fall in love with them all - good, bad, or indifferent.
This book is a must read for anyone who enjoys a bit of a laugh with a lot of emotion. Looking forward to reading the sequel, The Rosie Effect... Can't wait.
Along the way, I started thinking of Don as my hero, and Asperberger's as a variant, as he says, not a fault. I've never known anyone with it, but I've also enjoyed Daniel Tammet's "Born on a Blue Day," and "Thinking in Pictures," by Temple Grandin. Of course, the author never says Don is autistic, but he's definitely data-driven, or what some in a documentary called "too sane for this world."
The Audible.com version is absolutely hilarious. I listened to it twice and read the book as well, in preparation for leading a book discussion. Few books make you laugh out loud as much as this one.
Well I did, and in a good way. Loved the character and loved the writing.
Apparently he did not research much on Asperger's syndrome and autism, so 'chapeaux' to his skills and understanding of the issue as it is presented in such a clever, non-judgemental and very much close-to-reality way that was a pleasure to read. I think it really provides an honest insight on autistic behaviour that might prove to be extremely useful.
Also, what a good laugh!!