The Rosie Project, by Australian author Graeme Simsion, is a light read with a unique perspective. The plot line is filled with humor, unexpected twists, and thought provoking realizations.
The book opens with genetics professor Don Tillman coming to the conclusion that he is ready to have a wife. Having had less than stellar success with traditional dating due to his rigid and idiosyncratic personality, he launches the “Wife Project,” designing an elaborate questionnaire to ensure that he’ll meet his perfect match.
PhD student Rosie Jarman is not that perfect match. She is always late, can’t cook and smokes. Though Don finds her entirely unsuitable as a candidate (and, in fact, she never intended to be one) he finds that against all logic, he enjoy spending time with her. His project is sidelined by Rosie’s quest to find her biological father, and Don finds himself breaking rules and taking chances for the first time in his regimented life. The “Father Project” takes the pair on some wild adventures, from Australia to New York. She just may be the one to change Don’s perspective on life and love.
With Don as the narrator, the tone was somewhat awkward and stilted in the beginning. Though this was by design – speaking directly to the character’s eccentric personality - I wasn’t sure I would be able to get past it to enjoy the story. By the second chapter, however, the plot was engaging and entertaining enough that the exaggerated detail and overly rigid language was barely noticeable.
This novel moved beyond traditional romance, brought the characters to life and prompted some stimulating questions. I found myself pondering relationships, personalities, and the things people do to fit into societal norms as I read. While some aspects of the story were almost absurdly unbelievable, the tale was told so well that it didn’t matter. The beauty of this book is that it captures the issues many people struggle with in a way that resonates.
The book has been optioned by Sony for a motion picture, and this is one that I hope gets made. A sequel to the story is due out in December 2014.