Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

I was reluctant to read this book, despite having heard great things, because it looked to sweet and precious to me. I should ignore my gut in these decisions because my gut has shit for brains (bonus points if you can name what book that's from). I was wrong and this book was awesome. Thank god for book club! This was picked for both of my book clubs this month which is a nice synergy.

Don Tillman, a genetics professor, lives a very scheduled, organized, clean, and active life, with every second accounted for. While he has dealt over the years with his social awkwardness, through playing the clown and through some casual therapy, he has never quite gotten to the point of dating anyone. He decides having a wife would be nice, so he embarks on The Wife Project. His friend Gene, a married lothario trying to sleep with a woman from every country, decides to use Don's rejects as his own private dating pool. When Gene sends Rosie to Don, he presumes it's because Gene looked at her profile and thought she merited a second look. However, Rosie is actually looking for Don's help as a geneticist, to track down her biological father. Rosie is completely unacceptable in every way: she's a smoking vegetarian who's always late. But Don nevertheless finds himself trying to help her with her Father Project. But the question becomes, why? She wrecks havoc with his schedule, his apartment, his orderly life, and he doesn't have anything to gain by helping her. Or does he?

Naturally, Don is one of the many who thinks he should be looking for someone very similar, ignoring the advice that opposites attract. And he finds that the chaos in his life can actually be fun. But is he equipped to deal with it? After all, we can all see from a mile away (except for Don) that he obviously has some version of Asperger's and is very rigid and confined. Is it worth the risks to his settled life, to upend everything, for possibly getting close to Rosie?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book which wasn't as fluffy as I expected, although it did have very funny hijinks and nicely absurd scenes, but they were balanced with some real issues in both Don's and Rosie's lives that need to be sorted out first. It was a pleasant and fun read, with solid real life behind it. A nice reprieve from super-serious depressing novels that often eschew fun for fear it will dumb down the book or trivialize the important topics. When handled deftly, humor can enhance serious topics. And Mr. Simsion does that perfectly.

I bought this book at Barnes & Noble.

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