BOOK REVIEWS,  FICTION

BOOK REVIEW : THE ROSIE PROJECT BY GRAEME SIMSION

Humans often fail to see what is close to them and obvious to others.

– GRAEME SIMSION, THE ROSIE PROJECT

TITLE : The rosie project

AUTHOR : Graeme Simsion

GENRE : Romance, Comedy, Woman’s Fiction, Chick-lit

FBRC RATING : 4 stars

BLURB :

An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don’s Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.

FBRC REVIEW :

I read this book first in 2013 after seeing it recommended in an article in the Friday Magazine. The day I bought this book is an unforgettable one. I was so excited to get some books that I made a list of the books I saw in the magazine and went to the book shop in Dubai Mall. My family and I had fun. We had dinner, bought around six books that I wanted to read. It was the most extravagant book purchases of my life. I was so excited that I had all the books I wanted. Before leaving for home, I went to the washroom leaving my 2 kids with my husband who was on the phone taking a call from his colleague. I was called outside urgently by a lady I didn’t know. All I remember after that was the panic and fear that we wouldn’t be able to reach the hospital. My daughter sat on a marble bench and leaned back thinking there would be support. She fell backward and hit her head on the edge of the granite block surrounding a decorative tree. There was blood, lots of it and we were terrified. All praise to God, she was okay. I don’t think I can ever pick on of those books and not be transported to back to that event. Needless to say, it was an unforgettable day.

Let’s get to the review, shall we? So the first time I read The Rosie Project is in 2013. I haven’t read the other books in this series. I wanted to read them all so, I thought this was the best time to read it again. I remember the book to be an engaging and entertaining read. I still felt the same this time around as well. The book left me feeling happy. It was funny, well written and charming.

The story is said from Don Tillman’s perspective. He is special in his own way. I found his character to be sweet, and endearing despite his oddities. Don is a 40-year-old Assistant professor of genetics, hasn’t gone beyond the first date with a woman, can count on 1 hand the number of friends he has. He is aware of his differences and has come to terms with the fact that he is wired differently than most humans. He knows he is different from others and has no qualms in making a fool of himself around others. Even though the author through some characters alludes to Don having Asperger’s it’s neither confirmed nor denied in this book. He is someone who is socially inept and has rigid schedules he designs to make his life easier. We see him as someone who is strictly driven by logic and his need to make his life comfortable and safe. Don is brave, smart and unique. I absolutely loved his character. He is funny without meaning to be.

Don is determined to find a partner in his life through a questionnaire he carefully outlines to highlight his interest and preferences. He dubbed his quest for a wife as The Wife Project. He is helped by his friend Gene and his wife Claudia whom Don considers to be close friends. We get a glimpse of his social awkwardness in his interactions with them. Their love for him is visible and we can see that they are concerned about his happiness.

Enter Rosie, the Ph.D. psychology student who in her own words is fucked up because of her relationship with her father Phil. She is beautiful, strong and a little broken. She gets involved with Don due to a misunderstanding. Her entry brings a lot of chaos into Don’s life. She completely destroys his schedules and his routine and he still enjoys her company immensely. This makes Don confused and overwhelmed by the emotions Rosie seems to invoke in him. To him, Rosie is the most unsuitable person for The Wife Project. She doesn’t check most of the boxes on his list, yet the happiest moments in his life is always connected to her.

I don’t know for sure if I love Rosie as much, because we don’t hear much of her story besides the fact that she is on a search for her biological dad and has daddy issues. I didn’t understand exactly how her father was neglectful or why she is so troubled and not getting along with Phil. I love the fact that she brings out a side of Don Tillman which is not otherwise visible. This is the perfect example of the opposite attracts.

Don’s relationship with Daphne and how he manages that bond is genuinely one of the sweetest things I have seen. He is caring, empathetic and caters to her even after her condition deteriorates. The author shows us that Don is not without love or empathy, he just lacks the necessary social skills and training to be what is considered “NORMAL” in society.

Gene is Don’s friend and a fellow Professor, head of the Psychology Department at the University. I don’t know how to explain him, to be honest. I found him to be selfish, a jerk, and totally oblivious to his surroundings and people in it. He is someone who is completely out of touch with his reality.

The story is a fairy tale rooted in reality. I really liked it and very much enjoyed it. there were so many moments in this book that were downright witty and entertaining to envision. I would recommend it to everyone who loves romance with comedy sprinkled in. If you are in for a fun read and want a no-fuss, straight-forward funny novel, then this is the book for you.

MY THOUGHTS :

I loved this book, but I had a small problem that I wanted to talk about. There was this reference to 72 virgins in the book a little bit problematic. I understand that there were a few other instances where the religious beliefs were considered to be illogical in the book and the author made jokes about religious belief. Being a Muslim let me just say that the reference to the 72 virgins is misunderstood. The reward of women may be enticing to some men, to some it might be immense wealth, to some, it could be food, wine or anything that you desire the most. We don’t know what could motivate someone to be the best of themselves. There are various references to numerous things that might be enticing to some, but not to others in the Holy Books. We don’t live our lives in this world hoping to get the virgins in heaven. That is not the sole purpose. I see this line being used in media and movies. I am saddened that people don’t take time to understand the meaning of it and not learn or understand the concept. We follow some strict rules to keep us from harming ourselves and others around us, it is also to discipline oneself. We abstain from a lot of things that may be normal to other people because we want the best for ourselves and those around us. Also, the joke about Mary mother of Jesus was also not something I liked. Because she is also one of the most prominent and influential woman personalities in our faith tradition. I dislike things like that.

Other than these minor problems I liked this book. I am hoping that the intention of the author was not to offend and so I will take it as such. I think authors need to keep in mind that when it comes to religion you need to be sensitive and open to understanding their perspectives and views even if it’s worlds apart from your own.

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