The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion (2013)
2014/09/20 2 Comments
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Interest Level: Adult
In his debut novel, Australian author Graeme Simsion delivers a deceptively lightweight exploration of identity, acceptance, and what it means to love and be love, packed with moments of true hilarity and poignant tenderness. Don Tillman is an associate professor of genetics at a Melbourne university. He has Asperger’s but doesn’t realize it, living his life on a rational, healthy, and precise regimented schedule which includes making lobster salad every Tuesday. At age 39, he embarks on the Wife Project, determined to find a suitable partner. A questionnaire is the obvious instrument for filtering out the unsuitable. Rosie is definitely “unsuitable” – a chronically late drinker who smokes and can’t make a decent meal. But she is looking for her biological father, and Don’s expertise and logical approach to problem-solving makes him a perfect partner for the Father Project. On the surface it appears to be a light romance, drawing inspiration from Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, but in reality, it’s an exploration of identity and acceptance. Don is a sympathetic character who knows he is different, but still finds himself in comical situations. Showing up for dinner at a restaurant where a jacket is required, he proceeds to explain why his Gore-tex shell is superior to the threads he’s given to wear. A tap on the shoulder ends with Don holding the bouncer down with a deft aikido move. But he nearly broke my heart when he was threatened with dismissal by the Dean – if he couldn’t fit in as an academic in a science department, where could he fit in? Well, he has a spot on my shelf, that’s for sure! On the other hand, I was disappointed to learn it’s the first in a series; it’s like learning a favourite restaurant is going the franchise route. Here’s hoping it doesn’t turn into a one-note song.
More discussion and reviews of this novel: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17302192