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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Book Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project is a grown-up version of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Our hero is Don Tillman, professor of genetics,and he is using a mathematical model to find a mate. That’s not the only curious thing about him. To say he’s set in his ways is an understatement. Don has a set meal plan for the week, from which he does not deviate. He calculates and monitors alcohol consumption, the length of conversations and the statistical probabilities of almost everything. Asperger’s perhaps?

Don’s Wife Project falls under the scrutiny of his bestfriends Gene and Claudia, a husband-wife who understand Don’s quirks and help him understand the logic (or illogic) of the world. Despite helping Don refine the limiting criteria for his Wife Project survey, Don still has some epic-failure dates. His orderly, evidence-based system needs some work. Not only that, he is distracted from his own tasks by Rosie, a woman who he initially thinks has approached him as a candidate for the Wife Project but who is actually a PhD student of Gene’s who is looking to settle a bet she’s made with Gene. Secretly Don starts helping Rosie discover who her real father is. According to her mother, who’s passed away, Rosie is the result of a one-night stand that she had on her own graduation night from medical school. The Wife Project takes second seat to the Father Project and only a dolt like Don would miss the fact that Rosie is indeed the perfect candidate for the Wife Project.

The Rosie Project is a hilarious novel about the misgivings and misunderstandings of falling in love.

Based on the Bianca Disaster I revised the questionnaire, adding more stringent criteria. I included questions on dancing, racquet sports and bridge to eliminate candidates who would require me to gain competence in useless activities, and increased the difficulty of the mathematics, physics and genetics problems.

You’ll fall in love with Don by the end of this book, if not by the end of the first paragraph.