Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The Rosie Project, by G. Simsion

This is one of the books that grabbed my attention from the title:  The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion, had all the ingredients that would make me buy the book in an instant: a chick-lit from a man's perspective.  How refreshing and delightful...

Don, a genetics professor, is exactly the clich√© of a nerdy scientist.  He avoids human contact and he meticulously analyses  and plans every aspect of his life. When he's informed that he's good husband material, he jumps into this adventure - after all, according to statistics, there is someone for everyone - ergo, someone for him too.  But this is not a princess charming story - no, Don needs to spell out exactly what this someone will be, and he (again, obviously) starts with his Wife Project!

Searching for a partner - such a daunting task, even for the most easy going persons.  Enter Don, who describes a partner as

someone to provide intellectual stimulation, to share activities with, perhaps even to breed with

aside from the choice of words, this is actually what almost everyone looks for in a partner.  But it is exactly this sterile outlook on life that makes Don unsuccessful.

His friends Gene and Claudia try in vain to get him to meet women through dating; in the end, Don will have to use his background to find solution - a questionnaire ("the Wife Project") that will

minimize the chance of type-one error - waisting time on an unsuitable choice

and yet, this unsuitable choice, Rosie, will come in like a tornado and upset his whole life.  Simsion uses plenty of dialog which showcases the difference in language between Don and Rosie and we get to see in great detail their individual habits, their thoughts, their social skills and their interactions.  It's not always true that opposites attract, but this seems to be the case from the get-go with these two. Even when Don realises that Rosie has failed already four of his questionnaire's points, he can't stop her from storming in his house...

Don's house - this description reminded me so much of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory:

She opened the pantry and seemed impressed with its level of organisation: one shelf for each day of the week, plus storage places for common resources, alcohol, breakfast etc., and stock data on the back of the door.
- You want to come and sort out my place?
- You want to implement the Standardised Meal System? Despite its substantial advantages, most people consider it odd.

Don and Rosie are also connected because of Rosie's quest for her father - an issue where Don can use his analytical skills and help her out.  So much so, that this "Father project" will eventually overtake the "Wife project".

The book continues decribing the increasing interaction between the two, which slowly but surely brings Don to try new things, to meet new people, in a nutshell go out of his comfort zone and start changing

I realised that I had behaved in a stereotypical male fashion, drinking beer in a bar, watching television and talking about sport

which is the cornerstone of everyone's life story:  however much we try to organise ourselves, to take informed and rational decisions, there will always be this "human factor" - someting unpredictable that will cause us to stray from our intended course.  Rosie will abandon her search for her father (the Father project), and even Don cannot seem to find the intended partner (the Wife Project), despite his well-established questionnaire...

The two develop a relationship where they can understand and feel comfortable with each other, and most importantly be themselves. Which, again, is a universal truth, whether it applies to nerds or the rest of the world.

The ending is of course a happy one.  Love, being in a relationship, getting married, considering having children -- all these mundane society-imposed dictates can also prove to be fun and welcoming.  As it is in the case of Don and Rosie.

This is a very relaxing and entertaining book to read, without falling into the trap of being a stereotypical "chick lit".  So I found it slightly disappointing when, at the end of the book, the author reveals that the Rosie project actually a screenplay is.  The only reason for turning it into a book was that

it's easier to get a book published than to raise funds for a feature film, and I had hoped that a published book would help to build interest in the film

- nothing wrong in that.  I just enjoy reading books too much to be considered a second-best activity...

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, looks like a good one! It would be great if you added your review to the Books You Loved: Dember/January collection over at Carole's Chatter. If you would like to join in the fun please schedule a reminder for the first Wednesday of each month. The collection starts at 7am New Zealand time – which is probably some time Tuesday your time Cheers




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