By the Book @ Rogers Memorial Library

The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion

Rosie Project“Humans often fail to see what is close to them and obvious to others.”

Genetics Professor Don Tillman has a “Wife Problem.”  His physique, intelligence and income should make him attractive to the opposite sex. Logically.  But the 39-year-old bachelor recognizes that something a little less…quantifiable…detracts from his appeal. Sure, he has a blind spot about a mile wide when it comes to social niceties — Don is a literalist who bemoans, “why, why, why can’t people just say what they mean?”  In fact, his clinical approach both inside and outside his lab can be severely off-putting to any first date.  So he’s settled on a different tack, to separate the genomes from the plasmids. He devises a questionnaire to help him identify a suitable candidate for the future Mrs. Tillman.  No vegetarians, smokers, or gaudy jewelry wearers need apply.

Enter Rosie Jarman.  Though Don observes that she possesses none of the traits that he has identified for an ideal breeding partner, he remains curiously drawn to her. Together, they embark upon another project, dubbed the Father Project, in search of Rosie’s genetic father.  As Don goes to increasingly ridiculous lengths to obtain DNA samples (on the sly) from various men, Rosie asks the geneticist why he’s so eager to help.  Rationally, Don doesn’t have a response to her question. But then he’s faced with the reality of Rosie.  And he finds himself hurtling down the highway, “kidnapped” in a red Porsche convertible; memorizing a book of cocktail recipes in three days; and escaping through a fourth-story window.  And enjoying every minute of it.

It just so happens that there is a genetic component to Tillman’s social maladjustment — he has Asperger’s syndrome.  Don’s a little late with the lab results on this one — his love of routine and impatience with small talk are just parts of his personality (he thinks).  Naturally, Don’s factual, deadpan narration only adds to the comedy in this offbeat, oddball romance. 

The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion, tells the humorous story of how love transforms one scientist’s carefully calibrated existence.  Readers who enjoyed Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, or Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette, should try this laugh-out-loud debut novel.


One Response to “The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion”

  1. Love and adventure always has a way of changing a person’s perspective.

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