…by Graeme Simsion.
Don Tillman is a genetics professor who struggles to have a serious relationship with women. His life is perfectly organised to the last minute as he is a big believer in being efficient. Socially awkward but blissfully unaware, he stumbles upon an idea to find the perfect woman for himself in an efficient manner. He comes up with The Wife Project for which he uses a questionnaire (all scientifically validated, of course), to screen out women on the first date. This way, he doesn’t have to waste days, weeks or even months before realising they are not suitable companions for him.
With the help of his two best friends — the womaniser Gene and his wife Claudia — he makes sure he comes up with a reasonably reliable and valid questionnaire which he hands out to women during speed dating, through internet dating and other forms of new-age dating scenarios. Don is introduced to Rosie via Gene after he hands over his completed questionnaires to his friend. However, Rosie manages to be the exact opposite of what Don is looking for in a woman. She smokes, is not healthy, is a vegetarian who eats fish, is not punctual, and is a waitress at a bar among other things. But for some reason, Don can’t get rid of her.
As he becomes friends with Rosie, he embarks on The Father Project with her leaving his Wife Project aside. Rosie confides in Don that she is not certain her father Phil is her biological father as her late mother admitted to sleeping with someone on her graduation night. Given that Don is a genetics professor, he has access to machines to test DNA after they surreptitiously gather it from potential candidates. The more time Don and Rosie spend together, the more mis-matched they are. And yet, could it just be that Rosie is right for Don?
The Rosie Project is a debut novel by Simsion and it’s a pretty good start. I loved Don Tillman and could totally picture Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang theory but with a little bit more insight. Even though the author doesn’t explicitly say it, as a reader you can assume that Don has Asperger’s Syndrome. Yet it is portrayed in a sensitive and funny way rather than a caricature. Rosie is awesomely spontaneous, a lot of fun and a great character. Gene is obnoxious but serves his purpose. The plot, while reasonably predictable, is still very engaging. It’s an easy read which I finished in a few days that included plane travel and jet lag.
I’m certainly looking forward to reading the next instalment The Rosie Effect.
Where to find it:
Until next time,