ALPHAreader's Reviews > The Rosie Project

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
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it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites

‘The Rosie Project’ by Graeme Simsion is so wonderful.
I’m going to attempt to enumerate my enjoyment of the novel;

1. Don Tillman is an Associate Professor of genetics at the University of Melbourne. He has a black-belt in Akikido, and can cook a mean lobster salad. He also has Asperger syndrome – but he doesn’t know that. Don just thinks that there’s something missing that leaves him baffled by human behaviour and unappealing to other people (especially the opposite sex). But after his dear old neighbour tells him that he would make someone a good husband, Don decides to get married – and to limit the fallout of incompatibility and highly ineffective dating detection, Don decides to make a questionnaire to find himself the perfect wife. Thus, ‘The Wife Project’. This is not insane. It has actually happened, to Amy Webb from Baltimore who found her husband by using math and analytics to narrow the dating field.

2. Rosie Jarman is not a potential partner for Don’s Wife Project. She’s a barmaid who is perpetually late and vegetarian. But she is also beautiful and smart. And she’s on her own quest to find someone – her biological father. Rosie has bright red hair, dresses to impress no one but herself and calls em’ like she sees em’. But she is not a ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’. She does not want to ‘fix’ Don, she’s tough and imperfect and very aware of her failings. She is one of the best romantic-comedy heroines I've ever read.

3. This scene of Don speed-dating (which I read while on the train, and attracted many curious looks as I snorted my way through it);

‘I've sequenced the questions for maximum speed of elimination,’ I explained. ‘I believe I can eliminate most women in less than forty seconds. Then you can choose the topic of discussion for the remaining time.’
‘But then it won’t matter,’ said Frances. ‘I’ll have been eliminated.’
‘Only as a potential partner. We may still be able to have an interesting discussion.’
‘But I’ll have been eliminated.’
I nodded. ‘Do you smoke?’
‘Occasionally,’ she said.
I put the questionnaire away.
‘Excellent.’ I was pleased that my question sequencing was working so well. We could have wasted time talking about ice-cream flavours and make-up only to find that she smoked. Needless to say, smoking was not negotiable. ‘No more questions. What would you like to discuss?’


4. Don Tillman is described as being a dead-ringer for Gregory Peck, circa Atticus Finch. *le sigh*

5. ‘The Rosie Project’ started as a screenplay. Graeme Simsion then decided to turn it into a novel – but still used film-writing techniques and his writing partners were film-industry experts. This is why ‘The Rosie Project’ is destined for the big-screen. The dialogue is so tight and pitch-perfect, the lines just leap up at you and it’s as though characters are speaking from the page. I want to see this film adapted – move over Harry & Sally, it’s all about Don & Rosie!

6. At one point, Don and Rosie travel to New York where, Don says, “being weird is acceptable.” I am going to New York this year. I’m planning an entire day at the Natural History Museum, thanks to Don. I can’t wait!

7. The cover is in-your-face-magnificence. It called to me from the bookshelf, and loudly announced itself to fellow commuters as I read it on the train. I liked this. Very much.

8. Throughout the novel Don starts to question if it’s him that’s missing some vital human-connection component, or if maybe other people are the problem . . . this is encapsulated in the relationship Don has with his best friend and fellow teacher, Gene. Gene is fifty-six and happily married to a beautiful woman with whom he has two children. But Gene’s wife, Claudia, has agreed to an open-marriage and Gene is currently attempting to sleep with a woman from every country. Gene dispenses romantic advice to Don. This is not a good idea, and was a fantastic counter-point to Rosie and Don’s romantic shenanigans.

9. I would actually love a follow-up to ‘The Rosie Project’ because when I got to the last page I immediately missed Don Tillman and wanted him back! But whatever Graeme Simsion decides to write next, I’ll be reading because he’s now an automatic-buy author for me.

10. I could keep going and going and going because I adored ‘The Rosie Project’, but let’s agree that ‘10’ is a good place to stop espousing on all the reasons everyone should read this book.
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Quotes ALPHAreader Liked

Graeme Simsion
“I've sequenced the questions for maximum speed of elimination,’ I explained. ‘I believe I can eliminate most women in less than forty seconds. Then you can choose the topic of discussion for the remaining time.’
‘But then it won’t matter,’ said Frances. ‘I’ll have been eliminated.’
‘Only as a potential partner. We may still be able to have an interesting discussion.’
‘But I’ll have been eliminated.’
I nodded. ‘Do you smoke?’
‘Occasionally,’ she said.
I put the questionnaire away. ‘Excellent.’ I was pleased that my question sequencing was working so well. We could have wasted time talking about ice-cream flavours and make-up only to find that she smoked. Needless to say, smoking was not negotiable. ‘No more questions. What would you like to discuss?”
Graeme Simsion, The Rosie Project


Reading Progress

March 10, 2013 – Started Reading
March 10, 2013 – Shelved
March 19, 2013 – Finished Reading
December 12, 2013 – Shelved as: favorites

Comments Showing 1-26 of 26 (26 new)

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Catherine Sweeney ah ha - thanks. great review! will definitely get my hands on this one.


Geraldine O'Donnell Excellent comprehensive review


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Do you mind if I add a #11? The sheer chutzpah in having a character who is a Professor of Genetics and Evolutionary Psychology and who sole goal in life appears to be to have sex with a woman from every nation in the World and naming him 'Gene' !


message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited May 12, 2013 10:07PM) (new)

Forgot to say, thanks for taking the time to include the link to the Amy Webb story in your review. Amy's rather remarkable story reminded me of another equally radical method, albeit one without such scientific rigour, to drastically reduce candidates in your search for Mr or Ms Right. To place a personal ad in the London Review of Books. This artical from Salon describes the phenomena very well; ""a trusted girlfriend... tried to gently lecture me on selling myself, but I cut her off: “I am selling myself. Just to a very small niche market.”" And here are some of the favourites of David Rose, the editor of the LRB Personals column.

My favourites include the two below; Anyone who can get the topic of trepanning at home into a personal ad is going to make an interesting first date!

"Things I won’t do for love include replacing corroding soil pipes and trepanning at home. Everything else is A-OK. Eager-to-please woman [36] seeks domineering man to take advantage of her flagging confidence. Tell me I’m pretty, then watch me cling"

"OMG! This magazine is the shizz. Seriously, dudes. Awesome! LOL! Classics lecturer (M, 48). Possibly out of his depth with today's youth. KTHX! Box no. 2680."




ALPHAreader Kasper wrote: "Do you mind if I add a #11? The sheer chutzpah in having a character who is a Professor of Genetics and Evolutionary Psychology and who sole goal in life appears to be to have sex with a woman fro..."

Touché :)


message 6: by ✨Susan✨ (new)

✨Susan✨ Was on the fence, but now I'm definitely ordering. Great review. Looking forward to some good laughs. Thanks:)


Candace Your review said it all. I told Don that I missed the characters so much. I also had moments of panic when it seemed he might not end up with Rosie. I love this book so much that I will not lend it out. For fear I might not get it back. And when I am depressed I will pull it out and read it again for the laughter. I hope it makes the NY Times number one best sellers list. Because it so deserves it.


message 8: by Hedley (new)

Hedley Finger Bachelors could get some good tips for running their lives efficiently from this book. I particularly liked the Standard Malls, which simplify shopping but also allow you to become a superb cook by learning to master a limited repertoire of gourmet meals. Budding novelists will also learn from the afterword how rewriting again and again produced a novel that flows effortlessly. Remember the author who apologised for a lengthy missive because he did not have time to write a short one. Those who live with an autism spectrum person will enjoy many belly laughs of recognition. Don and Rosie are perfectly realised.


message 9: by Hedley (new)

Hedley Finger “Meals", not “Malls".


message 10: by Leslie (new) - added it

Leslie Wow, Dani, amazing review!! This one looks really good!! :D I think you've convinced me!! <3


Laura I think I have a crush on Don Tillman.<3


message 12: by Mark (new)

Mark How can you cook a salad?


Kiran Excellent review. I would love a follow - up book, or for the story to be made to movie also!


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)


Reading Harbor wow! this review makes me want to read the book. I was on the fence before but now I think I will like it a lot


message 16: by Erik (new) - rated it 5 stars

Erik Couldn't agree more. Have met the author and look forward to the second in the series. A great review!


message 17: by Rylee (new) - added it

Rylee Cragun Would this be appropriate for a 13 year old to read?:/


Reading Harbor There are some parts that are more adult but I think this would be rated PG-13 rather than R.


Roslyn Royle Loved and agreed with everything in this review. I can't remember laughing out loud so much for any other book. So hilarious and likewise can't wait to see the visual interpretation. I hope it does it justice.


Elizabeth Mark asked: How can you cook a salad? It was a lobster salad, so the lobster had to be cooked and added to the other ingredients. Sounded delish!


message 21: by Bub (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bub Perfect review!


message 22: by Bub (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bub Isn't The Rosie Effect the sequel? I'm going to check it out now.


Floor Fully agree, irresistably funny and totally adoring book, by far the funniest I have read in ages!


Sheree Tampus @Brother, I've read a lot of negative reviews on The Rosie Effect so I decided to skip reading that. Personally, I'm happy with the book as it is. :) As much as I'd love to find out what happens next, I think rereading original again and again will do. :)


message 25: by Manvir (new)

Manvir Is the book available on this app ??
Or i have to buy from store??


Corey It's a really great read.


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