The Rosie Project Synopsis:
Meet Don. Don is a genetics professor who just might be somewhere on the autistic spectrum. He looks a little like Gregory Peck and is getting married. He just doesn’t know who to yet. But he has designed a very detailed questionnaire to help him find the perfect woman. And it’s definitely not Rosie. Absolutely, completely, definitely not. Rosie, meanwhile, isn’t looking for love; she’s looking for her biological father. Sometimes, though, you don’t find love: love finds you… (Audible)
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion has been labelled ‘the feel-good novel of 2013’ — it is that and so much more. This very modern take on the classic screwball romance tackles some tough societal issues with just the right mix of hilarity and compassion. The mystery plot line was sufficiently complex to be compelling in its own right also.
In Don Tillman, Simsion has created one of the most charming and endearing characters I have come across in literature – he’s quite hard to describe… perhaps think Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory with a touch of Ben Stiller’s character in Meet the Parents and a helping of old world galantry.
What I particularly liked about The Rosie Project is that it’s not just the behaviour of protagonist Don Tillman that is satirized – the whole ragtag cast of ostensibly more ‘normal’ and ‘socially acceptable’ characters Simsion has surrounded him with are considered through the same lens. In this way, Simsion highlights that there are more similarities than differences between us all.
I listened to The Rosie Project in the audio format narrated by Dan O’Grady. I think his delivery really captured Don’s guilelessness and enthusiastic pursuit for happiness, coupled with the insecurities and frustrations he commonly felt when trying to negotiate the minefield of social interaction.
For all the laugh out loud moments, and there were many, the underlying messaging is mature and nuanced. Weaknesses can become strengths in the right context, but sometimes we can derive benefit (for ourselves, not just for others) by moderating our behaviour.
The Rosie Project does not fit into any single fiction genre I can think of other than contemporary.
It is not quite chick-lit, nor is it quite lad-lit – it is something more unique. Male and female alike will be the better for having read this book.
It is not hard to see why the rights for The Rosie Project have been sold to more than 30 countries within a year of its release. Graeme Simsion has combined the universal themes of acceptance and the pursuit of happiness with a wonderfully flawed leading man and a colourful ensemble cast — the end result, a truly memorable and uplifting reading experience.
According to Graeme’s website, he’s working on a sequel to The Rosie Project as we speak – I, along with many others I am sure, cannot wait to read more from this talented Australian author.
The sequel The Rosie Effect was released on 24 September 2014 – read my review.
UPDATE: Graeme spoke candidly about the people in his life that inspired the Don Tillman character in a Brisbane Writers Festival session I was lucky enough to attend. Read full article.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 5 / 5
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Genre: Humour, Romance, Mystery, Audio, Drama
* This review counts towards my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge 2013.
Author Information: Graeme Simsion was born in 1956. He is an IT consultant and data analyst with an international reputation. He has taught at four Australian universities and is currently a Senior Research Fellow at Melbourne University. He is a founder of Pinot Now, a wine importer and distributor, and is married to Anne, a professor of psychiatry who writes erotic fiction. They have two children.
In 2007, Graeme completed his PhD in information systems and enrolled in the professional screenwriting course at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He has made a number of short films and his screenplay, The Rosie Project, won the Australian Writers Guild / Inception Award for Best Romantic Comedy Script in 2010. While waiting for The Rosie Project to be produced, he turned it into a novel which in June 2012 won the Victorian Premier’s award for an unpublished fiction manuscript.
- Graeme Simsion chats to us about The Rosie Effect and an update on The Rosie Project – The Movie! (booktopia.com.au)
- Writing Advice from Author Graeme Simsion: Do the Hard Yards (kobowritinglife.com)