I was quite sick over the holidays, feeling awful physically and more than a little sorry for myself emotionally. I needed a cheer-up book – something light and funny to perk up my spirits. I found the perfect book sitting on my Kindle (that I’d been meaning to read for over a year): The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. It’s a light, sweet, smart romantic comedy that often had me laughing out loud and left me smiling and in a much better mood.
Don Tillman is a genetics professor at a large university in Australia. Though he is quite happy with his life and his job, he decides that he needs a life partner. Being an overly analytical person who likes structure (Don delivers a talk on the genetics of Asperger’s for a colleague but doesn’t recognize those very same characteristics in himself), Don creates The Wife Project, a 16-page questionnaire designed to narrow down the options. He figures that if he just finds someone who meets all of his criteria, she will be a perfect match for him. Questionnaire in hand, Don embarks on internet dating, goes on a group date, and even tries speed-dating, all with hilarious results.
Through his friend Gene, Don meets Rosie, a woman whom he quickly determines does not meet his criteria – she smokes, is perpetually late, and is startlingly spontaneous, messing up his carefully designed daily routine the very first day they meet. Rosie has an interesting problem, though, that Don can help her with – she is trying to find her biological father. Intrigued by the genetics problem – and by Rosie herself – Don sets out to help her. Along the way, Rosie introduces Don to a lot of new experiences and some new feelings, too.
Don Tillman is a lot like Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, only with a specialty in genetics rather than physics and a little more likable. When his rigid ways meet Rosie’s whirlwind personality, the result is often rocky, sometimes sweet, and always very, very funny. I often found myself laughing out loud at Don’s reactions and the situations he and Rosie got into. At its heart, though, The Rosie Project is a love story, so it is also warm and moving. If you’re looking for a literary pick-me-up, this delightful short novel is the perfect choice. I finished it and immediately wanted to read its sequel, The Rosie Effect – I’ve already requested it from my library and can’t wait to meet up with Don and Rosie again.
295 pages, Simon & Schuster
NOTE: Originally written as a screenplay before being turned into a novel, The Rosie Project is now in development as a movie adaptation, still in script development. Who do you think should play Don and Rosie?