Wednesday, May 20, 2015

THE ROSIE PROJECT by Graeme Simsion

Don Tillman is a genetics professor in Australia who appears to have an autism spectrum disorder.  Since married men are generally more successful than single men, he embarks on the “Wife Project” and devises a questionnaire for potential marital partners.  Meanwhile, his philandering buddy Gene sends a student named Rosie to meet Gene, and they hit it off, despite Rosie’s obvious unsuitability as a mate, in Gene’s estimation.  You can guess the rest.  The “Father Project” is the activity which binds this pair together, as Don and Rosie surreptitiously gather DNA samples in an effort to out Rosie’s real father.  This exercise has the expected outcome as well and introduces us to a swarm of characters that I found difficult to differentiate.  Unlike me, Don has a near-perfect memory that serves him well, especially when he and Rosie bartend at a class reunion attended by most of the candidates for the Father Project.  Don has memorized the recipes for myriad obscure cocktails, delighting the crowd with his expertise.  Obviously, Don is high-functioning, despite his social disability, which only seems to manifest itself at the most inopportune times.  Gene’s long-suffering wife Claudia takes on the task of mentoring Don in appropriate dress and behavior, with mixed results.  Don narrates the story with the expected nerdy-sounding voice, and I enjoyed seeing the world through his eyes, with his reactions to it.  His literal interpretation of various figures of speech provides the primary source of chuckles as I breezed through this book.  I would rate it as a pretty good summer beach read, and I can already envision it as a run-of-the-mill rom-com movie, unless the casting is particularly inspired.

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