Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The hostess for the December book club meeting usually picks a lighter book because we are all caught up in the holiday preparations. The Rosie Project was definitely a light read with servings of hilarity, hubris, insights into the world of autism.

Don Tillman is a professor of genetics in Melbourne, Australia, who has decided that he would like to be married. Hence, he and his best friend Gene devise the Wife Project, composing a questionnaire to filter out or in good candidates. With all his idiosyncrasies, due in part to being on the autism spectrum, it is virtually impossible. He goes to a speed dating event where he meets a few women, but none to measure up to his requirements of a non-smoker, non-drinker, acceptable BMI, and good looking.  But then he meets Rosie Jarman, whom he believes was sent to him by Gene. But actually, she was a doctoral student who was doing a study on the relationship of testicle size and monogamy. He makes reservations at a very upscale restaurant, but then gets into a wrestling match with the owner when he doesn't comply with the dress code of wearing a jacket. The incident leads to a dinner at Don's house and the reader senses a connection that will develop. 

Rosie shares with Don her desire to know who her biological father is. The Wife Project then becomes the Father project and the two embark on a quest to match her DNA with numbers of paternal candidates. This leads to a number of comical adventures and even a trip from Melbourne to New York. In the identity of her father is revealed and Don and Rosie come to an agreement about their on and off relationship. 

Despite the humorous under and overtones of the novel, there are some serious themes that permeate the fabric of the book. Both Don and Rosie have had to overcome adversity in their lives. He has had to try to overcome the traits that Asberger's has dealt and she life without her mother who was killed in a car accident when she was young. Overriding all the action is the search for love and the sacrifice to achieve a fulfilling life. When Don agrees to put aside some of his obsessive traits like the Standardized Meal System and his beloved T-shirts, one knows that he is serious about changing his way of life to be attractive to Rosie.

It was a delightful read, seemingly light, but with some serious issues and topics that become apparent to the reader as the book ends.