I hadn’t heard a bad word about this book before I read it so I began it with expectations already high.
This is the story of Don, a geneticist in search of love. In order to find a perfectly compatible ‘wife’ he devises a detailed scientific questionnaire to give to prospective life partners. Then he meets Rosie. Rosie is everything he’s not looking for. She smokes, she is disorganised and she throws his logical, ordered life into chaos. Despite this he finds himself experiencing some unsettling and unfamiliar emotions when he is with her.
I know it’s not always good to compare one book with another, but as soon as I began reading this I was transported back to Mark Haddon’s wonderful book ‘The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-time’. The voice of Don initially sounded (to me) like a grown up version of Christopher. This is certainly not a bad thing. It took me a only a very few pages to become lost in this story. Don’s voice is so clear and I quickly created a detailed picture of him in my mind’s eye. Apart from Rosie the other significant characters in the book are Gene and Claudia. Don’s only friends who he regularly consults on all things of a romantic nature. I enjoyed their acceptance of him and the way Graeme Simsion uses them to bring out Don’s unique character.
Despite Don’s obvious quirks and peculiarities which could so easily make him a figure of fun, the author writes about him very kindly. There is no malice in this book. Don gives us many opportunities to laugh at him but when we do it is always in a gentle spirit. I cannot believe it would be possible to read this book without wanting happy things for him. Don is full of surprises his ability as a cocktail bartender, and eventually as an accomplished dancer to name but two.
This is another book I missed my tube stop for I was so immersed in the story. That to me is the sign of a mighty fine read. Such was my love for this book that the day after I had finished it, I visited my favourite second hand book shop to find a copy of the follow up novel ‘The Rosie Effect’. Unfortunately they didn’t have one, so I remain in suspense about what comes next, but I can’t wait to find out.
If you are interested in The Rosie Project, you can find out lots more here.