The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1) by Graeme Simsion

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Synopsis:

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.

Review:

The Rose Project started out so good, but then it all came crashing down around 70% of the way through the book. I don't know what happened. I was enjoying it, it was a fun, different read, and then it was just...everything fell apart and so it left me with a meh taste in my mouth. Sad. *spoilers ahead*

Okay before I start this review can I just say that the main character's name bugged me. I could never remember it and when it did come up I was like really? Don? For this guy? Really? Really. It didn't fit. I know that is not a big deal, and it wasn't while I was reading, but just thought I would mention that it always threw me off. I kept forgetting that was his name and it surprised me every time. 

Don is a guy who may be on the spectrum and wants to find a wife. He has come to a point in his life where he wants to get married. Since he is so...he hasn't had much luck in the past he comes up with a great idea - the wife project. Or so he thinks. You know the wife project is not really going to work out very well because compatibility is about more than what you are like on paper, but I enjoyed watching him navigate his way through this challenge. He comes up with a really long, detailed questionnaire to give to potential wives and oh man. Some of the things he comes up with were kind of awesome in how not awesome they were. If that makes sense. 

Through this all Don has the support of his best friend, womanizing womanizer man. I really hated his best friend. He is trying to sleep with someone from every country, he is married, his wife obviously is not happy with this arrangement anymore, and womanizer doesn't see it. He is oblivious and oh I really didn't like him. He gave Don terrible advice at times and Don thinks that what he says must be good. I mean he is married and happy and everything is perfect for him. Ugh. 

So Don is trying to find his wife, but the questionnaire is not working out how he thought. He is still struggling to find someone when he meets Rosie. Rosie who is kind of a free spirit, does whatever, smokes, drinks, is always late, nothing like what Don wants. So why does he want to spend more time with her? 

Rosie is looking for her biological father. She knows the guy who raised her is not it, it is someone her mom went to school with, but she doesn't know how to find out who it really is. So Don offers to help her with her father project, and that is an easy way to spend more time together and get to know each other. Through this these two start falling for each other. 

Now as I said I was really enjoying the story up until about 70% of the way through. At that point Don and Rosie are both liking the other, but Rosie goes off about how Don has to change to be with her. How she can't stay with him forever how he is. So he tries to change. He tries to be less structured. He dresses different. Everything Rosie said he did because he wants to spend his life with her. Which I hated. Hated so so much. It turned me off Rosie completely. And then when she meets up with the changed Don she lashes out at bff yelling about how he made Don change into him. Which...is not true. Womanizing womanizer wasn't what made him change, Rosie was, which she finally figures out and then voila! Everything is wonderful and they are going to get married! Hooray! No. It was too much. It didn't work. I didn't believe it at all. I didn't see it. If they would have decided to start dating and see how things went then maybe it would have been okay, but it was so rushed and sloppy it didn't work for me. That and how the father project turned out was another huge disappointment. I may have rolled my eyes. Rosie hated her step-dad because he at one point said they would go to Disneyland and then never did. So she finds out - shock! Surprise! - he is her real dad, they go to Disneyland and then everything is fine. Sure. I buy that. I buy years of anger and resentment (for no apparent real reason on Rosie's part) just suddenly vanish and they all live happily ever after. It didn't work. This was a book club read for me and someone made an apt analogy - this was like going out to eat at a fine dining establishment, having a wonderful meal, ordering dessert and getting a Twinkie on a plate. It ended as kind of a mess for me and yeah. Unfortunate as I was loving the book up until that point. Oh well, I guess you can't have it all every time. 

Rating: ★ ★ 1/2

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