Book Review:  The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion (Penguin – 2014)

This is our book club’s latest selection and chosen as something a bit less challenging than the Man Booker winner we read last month.

Graeme Simsion’s book tells of a chapter in the life of Professor Don Tillman, geneticist.  Don is highly intelligent, incredibly organised, efficient, productive and totally devoid of social skills.  Having said that, he is not uncaring or unfeeling.  Don has only two friends, Gene the womanising head of his department and Gene’s wife Claudia.  Don consoles himself with the thought that he has four friends if he included Gene and Claudia’s children, one of whom is called Eugenie.  ‘Gene’, ‘Eugenie’?  Do you think some point is being made here?

Don’s failure to read social situations and people’s emotions, even if they are very overt, are highly comical.  Criticism, sarcasm and even offers of casual sex are wasted on him.  

Tired of being alone, Don sets up ‘The Wife Project’ and develops an ingenious questionnaire, which he combines with more regular dating methods to find his ideal life partner.  Don helpfully tells one poor lady that his method has been refined so that he can eliminate most non-suitable candidates in less than 40 seconds.  

Don meets Rosie, a friend of Gene’s.  According to Don’s questionnaire, Rosie is unsuitable as a candidate to be his wife in many, many ways.  Despite this, Don finds he enjoys being with her and decides that he will continue to see Rosie for intellectual stimulation until Miss Right comes along.

Anyone familiar with Mr Logic in adult-humour comic ‘Viz’ may view Don as his kindred spirit, albeit in a less openly annoying way.

Don’s relationship with Rosie, and his offer to help her find her real father is a funny and often quite touching read.  A fast read and very enjoyable. 

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