Title: The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1)
Author: Graeme Simsion
Publisher: Harper Collins
Check out this book on Goodreads.
Narrator Don Tillman 39, Melbourne genetics prof and Gregory Peck lookalike, sets a 16-page questionnaire The Wife Project to find a non-smoker, non-drinker ideal match. But Rosie and her Father Project supersede. The spontaneous always-late smoker-drinker wants to find her biological father. She resets his clock, throws off his schedule, and turns his life topsy-turvy. (Source: Goodreads)
Don Tillman wants to find a wife, but he’s very specific about what he’s looking for in a wife. Rosie is not at all what he’s looking for, but they hit it off, even if they’re determined to not be together. Rosie wants to find her real father, something Don offers to do for her. Together they search for Rosie’s father, meaning Don ignores his own desire to find a wife, except maybe he finds one afterall.
I first came across this book around Christmastime last year. I was at the Runnymede Chapters, which is now unfortunately closed, and saw it sitting on a table. I thought the cover was beautiful, and the overall look of the book drew me in. The person with me read me the description on the book flap while I weighed some gift decisions, neither of us was hugely impressed with the description at the time, and probably didn’t want to add anymore to our already outrageous haul of books and gifts. This book haunted me for the last year. I saw it everywhere, I thought about it constantly, but I kept thinking “oh it didn’t sound that interesting”. What was I thinking? This book was amazing. I fell completely in love with Don and Rosie and enjoyed this book which was sweet and funny and full of interesting information and a unique narrator/voice.
Don is so unexpectedly funny and sweet. When you first read the book his tone is very robotic, which is something people mimic and mock him for throughout the book, however you quickly figure out he’s more than that. He is funny and sweet and a little out of the ordinary. Having a narrator who is, suggested to be, on the autism spectrum is really interesting and unusual but was done in a manner I found largely inoffensive. The tone of the book lacks a lot of emotion, but it is easily read into the book from the point of view of a spectator who can understand what Don is missing during his friendship with Rosie, which worked really well.
Rosie was also very unexpected. She’s complex and mysterious, something that largely occurs because Don isn’t able to interact with her the way other’s might, which means we don’t get to read into her as much. However it doesn’t stop you from learning about her and loving her. Her family situation was interesting and obviously damaging which was well written. I also found her interactions with Don really sweet, and her acceptance of him was just so fantastic because where others scorned and rejected him Rosie found him and understood him.
Other characters in the book are well developed and really interesting to read about. I was particularly fond of Don’s friend Daphne who is mentioned early on in the novel and whose influence is felt throughout. The impression she leaves on Don is really something.
The plot was also very interesting to read about. I enjoyed the Wife Project idea because it was essentially a self-executed attempt at matchmaking. I also really enjoyed the hunt for Rosie’s father which is really the larger plot of the two. The hunt is interesting and takes a lot of unexpected turns. I had predicted her father early on in the book, but I was surprised at the end. My one complaint would be that things tied up a little too neatly at the end, but the unexpected nature of the conclusion really distracted from this.
I highly recommend this book. It was fun and sweet with many laugh out loud moments. This was a book I was constantly reading bits out loud from to tell other people about. I am really looking forward to the sequel, which I have just ordered online.