“Hysterical, Romantic and Heart-Warming”
New / Old Flames is a series in which our readers share their very favorite books.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Reviewed by Rachel
Don Tillman is not just a genetics professor—he’s also something of a genius of the kind that really annoys other people. As a result, he really only has one friend—a colleague named Gene (who is happily open-married and on a quest to sleep with a woman from every country in the world). Even though Don likes his life, he knows that something is missing. Sure, he’s an excellent cook, especially after following the same weekly menu for years. And of course, he’s in great shape from being accomplished in Akikido, despite his admittedly, um, robust alcohol consumption. And yeah, he’s got a comfortable position at the University of Melbourne, even though he’s rubbed a few students and administrators the wrong way (but of course he’s always been right).
But Don, who is also the spitting image of Gregory Peck a la Atticus Finch (*swoon*), has decided that what he’s lacking is a wife and thus the Wife Project is born. The Wife Project takes the form of an extensive survey quizzing potential mates about their habits, likes, dislikes, mannerisms, and many other characteristics essential to determining an appropriate partner for Don. The survey is methodical and leaves little room for error—but of course what Don doesn’t realize is that human attraction can’t be encapsulated in a multiple-choice exam, no matter how thorough the questions.
While Don is completely immersed in the Wife Project, Gene sends him Rosie Jarman, who Don assumes is another applicant. The fact that she smokes, works at a bar, cusses, dresses untraditionally, and is always late puzzles Don. However, he is inexplicably drawn to her acceptance of his quirks, her guileless honesty with him, and—let’s be honest—she’s also smokin’ hot.
The Wife Project quickly gets relegated to the back burner when Rosie reveals her own project to find out who her biological father is—the Father Project. The Father Project, and Don’s determination to help Rosie complete it, forces him to confront some of his own failings that have kept women and friends away in the past, and to realize that love really does spring from the most unlikely places.
The Rosie Project is hysterical, romantic, and heart-warming from the first page to the last. Don Tillman is at once aggravatingly narrow-minded and touchingly genuine, and you’ll find yourself empathizing with Rosie Jarman’s struggles with her shocking attraction to Don, but completely rooting them on. This is a great love story that will keep you laughing the whole way through.
Rachel is one of our Youth Services Librarians at Central Library.