A Review: The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion

April 13, 2013

Yesterday, whilst in London visiting the Manet Exhibition, (post to follow), I popped into Piccadilly's Waterstones. Although I was customarily distracted by the huge selection of books all of which begged to become my next read, I was in there with a purpose. That purpose was to buy The Rosie Project, which was only released on Thursday. My purpose wasn't, however, to be writing a review on it less than 24 hours after purchasing it, but that is testament to my enjoyment of this new Romantic Comedy.

The charmingly funny atypical protagonist, Don Tillman, is a genetics professor. He has a project: to get married. His problem is a universal one; he cannot find a compatible partner. His difficulty is exacerbated through his social awkwardness resultant of being somewhere on the autism spectrum. His solution is less than conventional, but entirely logical.
He devises a scientific project consisting of: 
'[A 16 page questionnaire,]such an obvious solution [to finding a life partner.] A purpose-built, scientifically valid instrument incorporating current best practice to filter out the time wasters, the disorganised, the ice-cream discriminators, the visual-harassment complainers, the crystal gazers, the horoscope readers, the fashion obsessives, the religious fanatics, the vegans, the sports watchers, the creationists, the smokers, the scientifically illiterate, the homeopaths, leaving ideally the perfect partner, or, realistically, a manageable short-list of candidates.'
Rosie, however, is all of these. She is patently unsuitable and is naturally disregarded. Nevertheless a relationship ensues, for the reason that Don can aid her in her own project to find her biological father, through his access to, and capability of, DNA testing. Rosie begins as a disturbance to Don's regimented lifestyle before utterly dismantling the entirety of his timetabled life. 

We experience the all too familiar frustrations in the quest for love: the disaster dates and awkward circumstances, but surely none of us have eclipsed Don in practicing sex positions with the help of a manual, using a skeleton, in his office, as the dean walks in. The effect of these incidents is nothing short of irrepressible amusement.

Rarely is there a novel with such an abundance of likeable characters. Graeme Simsion manages to create an endearing character without being patronising. He handles the humour perfectly; we can laugh at and with our hero, Don, who although on the Asperger's spectrum isn’t depicted problematically causing any controversial or awkward moments. Instead we are left questioning and challenging our pre or misconceptions. In fact, the novel is incredibly positive in many of its aspects. As Don identifies, Asperger's isn't a fault. It's a variant. It's potentially a major advantage.’

Passionate, spontaneous, and outspoken Rosie is the perfect antidote for Don's regimented and clinical lifestyle. His journey begins with his emotional disfunction and ends in the acceptance of illogical love, that begins as such a perplexing concept to him. It seems that chemistry prevails over the checklist attitude, a list of required characteristics that would make for the perfect partner, a device that many of us subconsciously employ.

The Rosie Project is an impressive debut from Graeme Simsion.
A light, easy and swift read despite handling a serious and thought-provoking topic. Genuinely laugh-out-loud funny, heart-warming, and ideal for a long train journey, holiday, or a break from revision.

‘Imagine the literary equivalent of one of those lamps prescribed for sufferers of seasonal affective disorder—a book that found the crack in our seemingly interminable winter to let laughter and light flood in.’
Sunday Times UK


  1. This sounds like it is exactly what I need in the coming weeks, an uplifting, enjoyable and heart-warming read. You always know a book is fantastic when you read it within days of buying it! Lovely review :)

  2. TeaDrinkingBookLover16 April 2013 at 10:29

    Thank you :) Sophie, I absolutely implore you to read it. It's the perfect uplifting and enjoyable read acting as a break from all of our set texts! My Mum, who I recommended it to, has also already finished it. X

  3. Sounds like an amazing book, I really like the front cover too! :)


  4. TeaDrinkingBookLover22 April 2013 at 09:18

    It really is great. I completely agree, so simple and lovely X

  5. Bethany Wilson7 July 2013 at 19:11

    This book has been on my wishlist for god knows how many months. You may well be the push I need to finally read it :)

  6. TeaDrinkingBookLover9 July 2013 at 19:37

    You won't regret the decision to buy it Bethany! I really hope you love it, it's a perfect light read for the summer, or for a lazy weekend in the sun :) X