The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

When my book club chose The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion for their next selection, I knew it must be popular since there was a long list at the Public Library of potential readers. I found it expedient to purchase an eBook to download onto my Kindel instead.

It was one of the best purchases I’ve made this year (and I’m an avid Kindel reader). I was immediately engaged with Don Tillman who, approaching forty, had never gotten beyond a first date. Perhaps it was because of Don’s numerous idiosyncrasies that women didn’t understand his brilliance. Yet Don doesn’t have much time in his overly-scheduled, down-to-the-minute day. He laments to his only two friends, Gene and his wife Claudia, that he will never find anyone. Instead of giving up, Don comes up with a booklet of questions to weed out those first only dates. Gene helps him whittle the list down into a more reasonable questionnaire and offers to administer the results, sending only perfect candidates Don’s way. Gene advises Don to take perspective wives out to dinner and then see what happens.

Enter Rosie Jarman. Before she can open her mouth, Don invites her to dinner. And then the fun begins. Rosie is nothing like the list; she is perpetually late, a vegetarian, drinks alcohol (an item Don eventually removes from the questionnaire), smokes, and, in effect, is the exact opposite of the qualities Don is looking for in a wife. What was Gene thinking sending Rosie his way? In fact, Rosie, wants to see Don, not as a prospective dating partner, but as a scientist who can help her discover the identity of her biological father. Don, a brilliant geneticist, is somehow willing to help Rosie with “The Father Project” even though she is a reject in the dating department.

Rosie, whose mother was killed in a car accident when she was ten, lives with her stepfather. She knows her father is one of a room full of future doctors who attended medical school with her mom. Together, one by one, the two “sleuths” obtain the DNA by any means necessary from prospective dads so that Don can test them in his lab. This repeatedly throws the duo together in a series of unusual situations, where they develop a relationship in spite of Rosie’s “flaws” and Don’s “rigid” life style.

This is an unusual romance novel with laugh out loud situations that are guaranteed to delight the reader. If you have a sense of humor and especially a sense of the absurd, you will adore this book. The characters come alive with the dexterity of Simsion’s facile writing style. Also of interest is the secondary storyline of the relationship between Gene, Claudia, and their two children.

A must read – 5+ stars. My favorite novel of 2014. And if this book intrigues you, then immediately purchase the sequel, The Rosie Effect. Plus there’s a movie in the works. Life doesn’t get better than this. Hurrah!

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