It was a dark and stormy night....our power went out on Sunday night - reports indicated that it would be out for most of the night. Rather than digging around for a flashlight, I realized I could use the handy dandy flashlight app on my iPad - and that I could easily hunker down and read in the dark. (Others in the house were moaning about televisions and PlayStations)
Well, I read until the iPad ran out of juice. (I didn't have a full charge when I started) Do you ever start a novel and realize you're in for a fantastic read within the first few pages? Graeme Simsion's debut novel, The Rosie Project, was one of those books.
Genetics Professor Don Tillman leads his life by a strict schedule, strict rules and rigidly adheres to them. He's brilliant, but socially inept, unable to read facial clues or experience emotion. He's had a few first dates (very few) but never a second one. Nearing his fortieth birthday, he decides he needs to find a mate. But how to do that without wasting time? Aha!
"A questionnaire! Such an obvious solution. A purpose-built, scientifically valid instrument incorporating current best practice to filter out the time wasters, the disorganized, the ice-cream discriminators, the visual-harassment complainers, the crystal gazers, the horoscope readers, the fashion obsessives, the religious fanatics, the vegans, the sports watchers the creationists, the smokers, the scientifically illiterate, the homeopaths, leaving, ideally, the perfect partner, or realistically, a managed short list of candidates."
And The Wife Project is born. And then Rosie Jarman walks into Don's office. Don thinks she is there to apply for The Wife Project, but Rosie is looking for a geneticist to help her find her biological father. Rosie is everything Don is NOT looking for in a mate. But he's intrigued by her search. And so, The Father Project is born. And maybe, just maybe, Rosie is a little intriguing as well...
I loved Don and his view of the world. His scheduling, his routines, his reaction to the rest of the world - and theirs to him. Simsion manipulates the reader wonderfully. I became so invested in Don and his search and his burgeoning self awareness. I empathized, I laughed, I cheered. The supporting cast of married couple Gene and Claudia were just as well drawn. It was interesting to see their story revealed through Don's eyes.
Don narrates the whole story and never breaks character. It was truly eye opening to see the world through a 'different' filter.
The Rosie Project was absolutely wonderful and beguiling and just a really, good heartwarming, read. Think The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-Time meets The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Read an excerpt of The Rosie Project. Keep up with Graeme Simsion on Twitter.
Sony Pictures has optioned film rights to The Rosie Project and Simsion is working on a sequel.