Friday, 31 July 2015

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

I started this book with low expectations. I've been down on the idea of bestsellers these days, and the first chapter was incredibly irritating. The lead character seemed so much an over-the-top rendition of the awkward, probably-on-the-autism-spectrum guy who doesn't do emotions and does do schedules that I wasn't sure I could even finish reading the book, let alone like it.

So I was a little surprised when I finished, and discovered that, overall, I enjoyed it more than I expected. I didn't love it. I'm not sure everyone needs to run out and read it. I don't intend to run out and read the sequel, but in the end, this last crack at deliberately reading best sellers, was an okay one. (This is not to say I won't read bestsellers anymore - just that I won't be using bestseller lists specifically to help me pick books out. I have other ways of getting at recent books.)

The main character is a professor in Australia (I should know what city, but I have forgotten already. Melbourne?) of genetics. He has only two friends in all the world, because his personal mannerisms and obsession with perfection alienate everyone else. (Except for the half a dozen women who hit on him without him realizing over the course of the book.)

Don would like a relationship, to fit into the meticulous scheduling of his life. But finds dating inefficient, so (of course he does) he comes up with a questionnaire to weed out unsuitable candidates, looking for someone exactly like himself.

The romantic comedy rule of opposites attracting, though, means that when messy, upset, has-difficulty-with-men-because-of-father-issues Rosie walks through the door, guess what happens? Well, what happens first is a whole whack of paternity tests, because Rosie's looking for her biological father, and Don decides to help her out.

In the course, predictably, he learns a little about having his schedules disrupted and enjoying it and falls for just the woman he never thought he would. (Opposites always attract in fiction, I guess. Not as sure about real life. My husband and I are really fairly similar people in many ways, and we've been together for almost two decades.)

Rosie is pretty much a manic pixie dream girl, with just enough daddy issues flaws that you can point at and say "see! She has flaws!" if you really want to. She's there to shake Don out of his rut and make sure he enjoys it. She's not really developed a ton beyond that.

But still, for what it was, it wasn't terrible. The ending felt a bit rushed, as far too much happens in the last two chapters to squeeze into that much space. However. It's a light and frothy read for summer, and I hope it's not too much of a spoiler when I say love wins out after all. Did anything about the blurb make you think anything different would happen?

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