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The Rosie Project

Book Review by C. Allen Orr, HHS Teacher

The Rosie Project: A Novel (Don Tillman Book 1) by Graeme Simsion

I learned about this book while searching for a reading challenge category “a non-traditional romance.”  It sort of is, but it gives me the same warm and fuzzy happiness that traditional romances do, maybe to an even greater extent.  I love this book so much, and I will absolutely be reading the other books in the series. 

Don Tillman is an Australian genetics professor who struggles to fit in with others and to form relationships.  He can count the number of friends he has had in his life on one hand.  When he realizes he is having no success with relationships and dating even though, logically, he should be a perfectly valid choice for many women, he comes up with the idea to create a questionnaire to try to find the perfect wife.  

I find the character of Don to be delightful, and he reminds me of Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory.  He is direct, logical, literal, and extremely intelligent.  He is also socially awkward, which all kinds of people can appreciate and empathize with, even if they do not experience social awkwardness to such an extreme extent.  I read criticism by author Sara Luterman that Don is merely another example in pop culture that supports the idea that all people on the autism spectrum (implied in this novel) are “clueless, quirky white male geniuses.”  That may be true, but I love the novel anyway.  While we may need more diverse representations of people on the autism spectrum in novels, movies, and TV shows, I am sure that people like Don exist.  

One of my favorite things about the novel is how there are so many details that are implied but never explicitly stated in the way they are presented in Don’s internal monologue.  I thought Simsion did a very nice job of letting the reader experience what life must be like for Don and how he is learning to better interpret social cues through the course of the novel.  You really get to see Don’s humanity, and it makes you root for him through his successes and failures.  I won’t give away any spoilers, but if you are a fan of romantic comedy, I think you will love this book.  

This book is available as an e-book and an audiobook through the Libby app.

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