What’s it all about?:
An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.
Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.
Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don’s Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.
The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.
What did I think?:
This novel has been on my radar for a while due to my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads having read and enjoyed it, so when Richard and Judy added it to their Spring Book Club list here in the UK, I knew that I could put off reading it no longer! And I’m glad I didn’t, this book completely lived up to my expectations and yet was so much funnier and in parts quite bitter-sweet, than I could have anticipated. It tells the story of a genetics professor called Don Tillman who hasn’t exactly had much luck with the ladies. He displays all the tell-tale signs of Aspergers Syndrome yet appears to be blissfully unaware of his little rituals and foibles which are after all, normal to him. His life is a rigid timetable planned down to the very last detail with a defined time limit for each event, even scheduled as to what he will be eating day by day which seems to provide him with a great amount of comfort. After deciding that he may be at a point in his life where he would like to settle down in a relationship, he begins The Rosie Project – a regimented questionnaire for the potential wife with a strict series of questions that is tweaked with the help of his friends Gene and his wife Claudia before he unleashes it on the unsuspecting women of the world.
Then Rosie enters Don’s life. She is everything that is wrong for Don (according to the questionnaire of course)! She smokes, drinks a bit more than is advisable, swears like a trooper, and has her own personal issues regarding going on a search for her real father, who could be one of a number of men according to her mother who has now passed on. Despite all her flaws, Don is strangely drawn to Rosie and offers to help her in her quest, being superbly qualified to analyse the DNA samples of any of the potential fathers that she may procure. So The Father Project now begins in earnest, Rosie and Don must obtain DNA samples from the daddies in question and by means of elimination, whittle them down so that Rosie can get some answers regarding her parentage. It is fair to say that Don and Rosie go on quite a few adventures in order to complete the Project, having a few hairy moments, many hilarious moments but also several tender moments which make this unconventional love story a real joy to read.
One of this novels many strengths is the humour which almost seeps from every page and caused me to chuckle out loud quite a few times but I also loved the beauty of the author’s characterisation. Don Tillman may be a slightly stereotypical sufferer of Aspergers but he is an absolute gem of a character, one I warmed to instantly, grew to love over the course of the story and was sad to leave at the conclusion. This is one of those novels that you can really see on the big screen if it is adapted well and perhaps there is even an opportunity for a sequel? Okay, I admit it, I really want to know what happens to Don and Rosie next…can I persuade you Mr Simsion?
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):