The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

‘” ‘I’ve sequenced the questions for maximum speed of elimination,’ I explained, ‘I believe I can eliminate most women in less than forty seconds. Then you can choose the topic of discussion for the remaining time.’

‘But then it won’t matter, ‘ said Frances. ‘I’ll have been eliminated.’

‘only as a potential partner. We still may be able to have an interesting discussion.’

‘But I’ll have been eliminated.’

I nodded. ‘Do you smoke?’

‘Occasionally,’ she said.”

I put the questionnaire away. ‘Excellent.’ I was pleased that my questions sequencing was working so well. We could have wasted time talking about ice-cream flavours and make-up only to find that she smoked, needless to say, smoking was not negotiable. ‘No more questions. What would you like to discuss?’

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4 / 5 

Don Tillman is an almost 40 year old Associate Professor of genetics at the University of Melbourne with (implied) Aspergers syndrome. After his dear old neighbour tells him that he would make someone a good husband, Don decides that he is going to get married. He decides, that in order to save time, he is going to approach this systematically, through the use of a questionnaire to find himself the perfect wife, and so begins “The Wife Project”. He attaches his sixteen page questionnaire to his online dating profile in order to choose which ones would be suitable matches. Unfortunately, he does not find anyone. Eventually, his friend Gene encourages him to go on a date with Rosie Jarman. She is not a potential partner for Don’s Wife Project; she is a barmaid, vegetarian, and smokes. Rosie is on her own quest to find someone, her biological father. Having access to the technology, Don gets drawn into “The Rosie Project”, and they begin DNA testing the potential fathers.

I really enjoyed this book, managing to read it in a day (It would have been in one sitting, had it not been for work.) It turns out that ‘The Rosie Project’ started as a screenplay, but Graeme Simsion decided to turn it into a novel. However, it still uses film-writing techniques, with the dialogue being very succinct, and real. Due to this, it is very easy to read. It is also very funny, with me actually laughing out loud on numerous occations, which I always see as a good sign of a book.

I feel that reading this book, you have to take into account that Don is on the extreme end of the spectrum, and includes a lot of the stereotypes about Aspergers, and does not represent everyone with Aspergers. However, the book does allow for the audience to have an insight onto these extreme behaviours from his view point, allowing you to see his reasoning behind his behaviour. His rotas, for instance, are there to save time and to ensure that he is getting the right amount of sleep, exercise and food. It is logically, which is they way many people on the Austism Spectrum think. This links in with both his job, being in science which is inevitably based on logic and proof, and his approach to finding a wife.

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4 thoughts on “The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

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