THE ROSIE PROJECT is whimsical and charming in all the best ways. It is a celebration of life and love, and the differences that define us, but are ultimately meaningless when we meet the one. Graeme Simsion’s debut is a romantic comedy that stringently adheres to the conceits of the genre rather than attempt to transcend them. But it’s executed to perfection, rendering all those tropes into a seamless, engaging narrative.
Don Tillman’s personality and eccentricities are indicative of Autism / Aspergers / OCD. Every facet of his life is regimented; to the extent he creates a questionnaire – titled “The Wife Project” for prospective partners to complete in order for him to gauge compatibility. I appreciated Simsion’s decision not to explicitly label Don as a sufferer of a particular condition – there’s no need for him to. Don as socially awkward, self-aware person, and that’s not all the matters. He’s a loveable character – infuriating at times, but relatable.
When Rosie enters Don’s life he immediate registers her as an unsuitable partner. She’s his antithesis; tardy, a smoker, and her mathematical skills aren’t of the standard Don requires. But you just need to see the title of the book to know how the story is going to play out. There are a few twists along the way, thanks to the subplot involving the search for Rosie’s father, but THE ROSIE PROJECT is a novel you predict the ending of before you begin, and enjoy because of the journey towards it.
A light-hearted and feel-good novel that’s surely destined for Hollywood, I expected THE ROSIE PROJECT to be an easy read; a palette cleanser between novels of greater substance. I did it a disservice. It’s got plenty of substance, a lot of laughs, and even more heart.