Friday, May 30, 2014

The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion

Don Tillman is genetics professor who is about to turn 40 years old. His life has always been ruled by outlines and systems – that’s all he knows. Order, schedules, routine are the norm. So when he decides that he might be ready for a wife, he approaches finding one with the same process. Upon realizing he’s never been past a first date with a woman, he figures he must find a way to find a wife other than what “normal” people do – dating, social interactions, and actual conversations. After creating an extensive questionnaire, he embarks on The Wife Project.  

 Enlisting his friend Gene and his wife Claudia, the questionnaire is refined a bit more, posted to online dating sites, and with their help, he also tries to improve his social skills via a match-making organization, and speed dating!

After receiving over 300 responses, he tells Gene there are no suitable responses. Gene is not willing to give up that easily. 

‘Give me your list,’ said Gene. ‘I’ll pick out a few out for you.’
‘None of them meet the criteria. They all have some fault.’
‘Treat it as practice.’
I emailed the spreadsheet to Gene.
‘No smokers.’
‘Okay,’ said Gene, ‘but you have to ask them out. To dinner. At a proper restaurant.’
Gene smiled as if to compensate for my lack of enthusiasm. ‘It’s easy. “How about we do dinner tonight?” Say it after me.’
‘How about we do dinner tonight?’ I repeated.

Enter Rosie. She’s a bartender, graduate student, and walks into Don’s office telling him she was sent by Professor Barrow. Gene. Don assumes Gene has been expedient on his selection of a date for him, and Don immediately asks Rosie out to dinner. Stunned, she tells him he must be joking. Not catching onto the nuances of language other than the direct meaning, Don initially thinks that Rosie “Isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed”. She’s not only brilliant, she’s witty, honest, unconventional, and beautiful. Due to a “Jacket Incident” at the restaurant, they end up having dinner at his place. 

Rosie completely un-nerves him, telling him “Previous rules no longer apply” and he’s in the Rosie zone. He’s intrigued. When she reveals that she’s unsure of who her father is, he figures he can help. He’s a geneticist after all! Thus commences, “The Father Project”. The two interact in the most hilarious ways, trying to collect samples on possible candidates. What they find is a friendship, attraction, and eventually, a stunning realization for Don and Rosie both.

This is a sweet story of an individual finding himself, a friend, and eventually, a partner for life. Unlike most romantic comedies, this one did not contain one sex scene! Not a one. Some hilarity around the topic, but nothing graphic at all.  A bit refreshing given some of the other smut I’ve read recently. It's listed under Humor and Science Fiction/Genetic Engineering, which is a bit off as I would expect books under SciFi to be a bit more...out there. Don't let that fool you. The writing is superb and the story is engaging enough to keep you from wanting to put the book down!

After reading a few disappointing books this week, I was in need of something good. Something light, fun, and happy. I found it!! The Rosie Project is probably one of the most entertaining books I've read this year. As I was reading I couldn't help visioning the Big Bang Theory's Sheldon Cooper , and Emma Stone from....well? Many of her roles! Except the Spidey movie of course. You learned to understand the characters and their quirks, rooting for them in the end.   

An excellent outcome indeed! 

 Go get this one now!

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