The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project
Five words from the blurb: love, science, emotion, incompatible, perfect

Books about Asperger’s Syndrome are normally depressing so it was refreshing to read The Rosie Project, a wonderfully entertaining book that highlighted the positives of the condition.

Don Tillman is a highly regarded geneticist, but is clearly on the autistic spectrum and struggles with relationships. He decides to find himself a wife and so creates a detailed questionnaire to ensure he only dates those with the same likes and habits as him. Unfortunately his questions rule out almost everyone. But then Don begins to fall in love with a totally incompatible woman and realises that love cannot be governed by strict rules.

I loved this book! I laughed so much that I had tears streaming down my face. I’m sure that most people won’t have the same strong reaction, but the humor really resonated with me. I recognised so many of the character traits – the literal thinking was especially accurate and often shown in an amusing light:

And now the institution that I was paying to supply us with a meal – the service provider who should be doing everything possible to make me comfortable – was putting arbitrary obstacles in my way. My Gore-Tex jacket, the high-technology garment that had protected me in rain and snowstorms, was being irrationally, unfairly and obstructively contrasted with the official’s essentially decorative woollen equivalent.
‘My jacket is superior to yours by all reasonable criteria: impermeability to water, visibility in low light….Vastly superior tensile strength…’
To illustrate this last point, I took the lapel of the employee’s jacket in my hands. I obviously had no intention of tearing it but I was suddenly grabbed from behind by an unknown person who attempted to throw me to the ground.

I also loved the way that the book highlighted flaws in the general population. It showed that everyone has their quirks and those with Asperger’s are no stranger than others.

The Rosie Project may appear to be an entertaining romance, but it uses humor to highlight many important issues. The fact that this book will appeal to a wide variety of people makes it very special and I hope that its messages of tolerance and acceptance will spread far and wide.

Highly recommended.


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  1. tanya says:

    I agree, books about people with Aspergers can be a little depressing, but this book was amazing. It made me laugh and cry. Not only that Don was so human I could see bits of him in everyone around me.

    1. Jackie says:

      tanya, Yes, and it was nice to see a successful adult at the centre of the story. It should give hope to many. Glad you enjoyed it as much as I did.

  2. Caroline says:

    I saw this at the book shop today and was wondering whether I’d like it. Thanks for the review. I think I would like it.

    1. Jackie says:

      Caroline, I really hope that you do! I look forward to comparing notes.

  3. Kailana says:

    This book has been getting lots of notice, so I grabbed an e-copy after Christmas. I am looking forward to reading it. :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Kailana, It is great to hear that you have a copy – enjoy!

  4. Annabel says:

    I adored this book too. I loved the way we laughed with Don all the way through. I thought Gene and Claudia were well-drawn characters too.

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, Yes, it was nice to see so many characters with real depth. Glad other people find it funny too :-)

  5. Gayle says:

    Totally agree! Very entertaining though also poignant.

    1. Jackie says:

      Gayle, A special combination :-) Shame more books can’t manage to repeat it.

  6. This is rising higher and higher up my wishlist with every review – it does sounds like something I would relate to so easily!

    1. Jackie says:

      Vicki, I really hope the scales tips soon and you are persuaded to read it – it really is as good as everyone says it is :-)

  7. Sandy says:

    This was such a precious book…we will be discussing it tonight at my book club! I thought it was hilarious that he lectured on autism without a clue that he had those traits! Haha. I thought that Don and Rosie were both complex characters and I fell in love with both of them.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, I really hope that you have a good discussion – mainly because I made my book group read it!! Our meeting isn’t until February, but if you can point me in the direction of good discussion points that would be fantastic!

  8. Nikki-ann says:

    I keep hearing about The Rosie Project. I think I’m going to have to add it to my evergrowing TBR pile :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Nikki-ann, I hope that you decide to read it soon – it is as good as everyone says it is :-)

  9. Jacquichimes Chimes says:

    I loved this book

  10. Lucybird says:

    I shall be adding this to my wishlist. Thanks for the review :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Lucybird, My pleasure. Enjoy!

  11. Sounds fun! I’ve read a few reviews of this, and it didn’t appeal to me that much, but you make it sound rather wonderful. Adding to the list!

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenny, I’m glad to hear it! I hope you decide to give it a try.

  12. Steph says:

    I’ve read a lot of good things about this book, but whenever I hear about a book about Aspergers or other spectrum disorders, I always want to hear what you think about them as I consider you my go-to authority when it comes to how well a book portrays the condition. I think it’s really difficult for many authors, especially when writing a humorous novel, to refrain from turning Aspergers into a caricature of what it really is, so I’m glad to hear that Simsion avoided that impulse and managed to portray Don accurately but while making it clear the author had empathy towards him.

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph, I was worried when I heard it was a comedy, but luckily Simsion manages to pull it off. Some of the things are stereotypical, but Don is such a charming character and has a whole range of other aspects to his personality so any small issues can be overlooked. I’d be interested ti hear your thoughts – if you decide to give it a try.

  13. I’ve seen buzz about this book but hadn’t realised there was an Asperger’s element to it, hurrah for something positive about the condition. :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Alex, Yes, it is wonderful! I’m so fed up with all the ‘problem child’ narratives. This is such a refreshing change!

  14. I was laughing out loud in my car while listening to that passage in audio also Jackie – fantastic stuff. Likewise the occasion when he was waiting to doing his speech about Aspergers…

    1. Jackie says:

      Jo, I’m still giggling about the superior jacket! I’m glad I wasn’t driving a car whilst listening – I think I’d have had to pull over because I was laughing too much. I also loved the autism speech – I wonder how many would really shoot the baby in that situation?!

  15. Judith says:

    Good to see that you found it realistic. I loved the book, too.

    1. Jackie says:

      It’s good to see so many fans of this book! I hope word about its brilliance spreads far and wide :-)

  16. Louise says:

    I’ve seen this book around but not realised what it was about. My husband has Asperger’s so definitely going to get this and see how much of the character traits I recognise.

  17. I just finished this and enjoyed it a lot too. You can see that it was meant to be a film and I think it will be fun when it comes out. I did think the humour was the best thing though, and that the romance plot and the father plot were very predictable.

  18. I loved Don’s analytical mind. He’s gorgeous, he’s successful, and he’s forthright. He’s also too strange to appeal as a potential boyfriend, so he has his work cut out for him. I actually laughed out loud, which is a rarity for me while reading. The ending tied everything up in a satisfying way. I’d recommend this book to anyone. It’s different and it’s just a feel-good book. One of the best books I’ve read this year.


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