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179 of 185 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most enjoyable book of the year
Don is lecturer in genetics at a university in University in Melbourne, Australia. He is single, on the brink of his fortieth birthday and leads a highly systemized life dominated by routines, list, structures and timetables. You can count all his friends on the fingers of one finger, unless you include, Claudia, wife of his friend Gene, lecturer in evolutionary...
Published on 4 May 2013 by Peeking Man

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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Different and funny, but over-hyped
Don Tillman is a genetics Professor in Melbourne, his life one that is dominated by routines and strict schedules and order; he knows that his brain works differently to most, social situations in particular are not his forte, however, the way he sees it he is governed by logic and reason as opposed to his emotions. Approaching his fortieth birthday, Don decides that he...
Published 14 months ago by little bookworm


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179 of 185 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most enjoyable book of the year, 4 May 2013
This review is from: The Rosie Project (Hardcover)
Don is lecturer in genetics at a university in University in Melbourne, Australia. He is single, on the brink of his fortieth birthday and leads a highly systemized life dominated by routines, list, structures and timetables. You can count all his friends on the fingers of one finger, unless you include, Claudia, wife of his friend Gene, lecturer in evolutionary psychology. Claudia, a psychologist herself, is Don's ad hoc therapist. The story begins with Don substituting for Gene to deliver a lecture on Asperger's to facilitate Gene latest endeavor in philandering. Gene is attempting to `collect' a woman from ever country in the world. It is clear, though not to Don, that he has much in common with the subjects of his lecture.

It has reached Don's attention that married men are happier and live longer. It is therefore logical that he should become married. To that end he formulates a state-of-the-art questionnaire and engages in some dating activities, which he sees mainly as opportunities to collect data via the questionnaire. The questionnaire proves useless and Gene acquires the completed scripts in order to make use of the geographical data they contain. At the same time, Gene sets Don up with Rosie, one of his PhD students.

Rosie is completely unsuitable, naturally, but as soon as she appears on the scene, the course of the rest of the book is clear to the readers.

THE ROSIE PROJECT is the most enjoyable read I have had for a very long time. Obviously, one can debate how good a book is, but there is no real debate about emotional response. I loved it from first to last. I laughed, I cried. I got out of bed at 3am to read more.

The voice is first person from Don's crippling matter-of-fact Aspergers point of view. As a picture of autism, this is every bit as good as Dustin Hoffman in RAINMAN. Don is a superb character, an absolutely faultless creation. The gimmick of using the voice of a misfit almost always fails, but when gimmicks work (LIFE OF PI, THE CURIOUS INCIDENT...) they turn clichés into art. THE CURIOUS INCIDENT can be seen as children's book at some levels. ROSIE is 100% grown-up.

If you strip Don's issues out of the story, then it is not worth telling, and that is the point. The plot must be banal, because it is exactly that - the ordinary, predictable vagaries of social interactions - that cause Don his problems. Complexity and confusion are redundant in Don's life.

Don's gradual crack-up and the comedy set-pieces are all very well executed. A love story like this must have a heartbreaking climax and it is indeed very sad to watch everything fall apart before it gets put together again. The background of academia is just as well done as anything in David Lodge, really. The `facts' about genetics and social interactions are very satisfying.

Rosie is written more or less as a romantic comedy movie, but it is more or less impossible to see how it could be made into a movie, because the book is very subtle indeed. As a movie it would become terribly gauche.

I know nothing about the author, but it is really hard to imagine that this is a first novel. Likewise, it's hard to work out where he might go next. One feels that one is in expert company, probably that of a Melbourne academic.

Having enjoyed the book so much, I'm slightly worried that I might have `misjudged' it somewhat, whatever that means. It could easily provoke a `so what' response in some. I'd like to think that my emotional response demands that the work be `quality'. I could talk about it for hours.
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Different and funny, but over-hyped, 22 April 2014
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Don Tillman is a genetics Professor in Melbourne, his life one that is dominated by routines and strict schedules and order; he knows that his brain works differently to most, social situations in particular are not his forte, however, the way he sees it he is governed by logic and reason as opposed to his emotions. Approaching his fortieth birthday, Don decides that he wants to get married; it being well documented that married men live longer and are happier. To this end he embarks on the wife project, for which he designs a specific questionnaire in order to efficiently select his ideal partner. Then Rosie enters his life, and all logic and reason swiftly goes out of the window!

The Rosie Project makes for a diverting and unusual read, mainly because it is told entirely from Don's perspective and his rather unique take on the world. Don as the central character is utterly delightful, and hard not to warm to despite all his oddities. In essence he could be Sheldon Cooper's (from the Big Bang Theory) twin; and he makes for a refreshing hero.

I actually probably preferred the first part of the story, as we get to know Don and his little routines, e.g. the very efficient standardised meal system, and as he devises his questionnaire to seek out the perfect wife; however, then Rosie enters the story and it starts to drift off in another direction. There is initially some confusion between the two characters, Don assuming Rosie to be an applicant, albeit a very unsuitable one, for the wife project, when in actual fact she is seeking his advice as a genetics expert to help track down her real father. This assumption being cleared, Don sets out helping Rosie gather DNA samples to find out who her real father is; this element of the plot actually then becoming quite a dominant one in the story, and I have to say that personally I felt it rather dragged out, Simsion rather going into too much detail over it all, and more that I particularly cared for or was invested in. Furthermore, I thought the actual resolution to the father project to be very weak.

Obviously as Rosie and Don spend time together on the father project, they start to develop a friendship; Rosie challenging quite a lot of Don's views and throwing him into situations he is unaccustomed to, but often finds himself enjoying as he loosens up and stops sticking so rigidly to all his routines. There are plenty of amusing incidents that follow to this effect, and you can easily see where the story is heading; however, personally I found Don's progress to becoming more socially adept and his willingness to alter his hitherto strict routines rather too quick, particularly as it is implied that he likely suffers from undiagnosed Asperger's Syndrome. In real life such dramatic changes would be unlikely to occur in so short a time span, and as such the condition is perhaps trivialised in a way.

My other main criticism is that I did at times struggle to warm to Rosie; often she simply came across as too immature and angry, in particular regarding her issues with her father.

Overall an entertaining read, and certainly different to the usual in the romantic comedy genre, with some interesting food for thought and a very likable lead character. However, from all the glowing reviews I had probably been expecting more than I got; and as such did feel that the book may have been over-hyped a little.
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111 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Don Tillman, 8 May 2013
By 
Janie U (Kings Cliffe, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Rosie Project (Hardcover)
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Don Tillman is a professor of genetics. He narrates this story in which his main focus is to find a perfect wife.
It soon becomes apparent that Don is fairly well advanced on the aspergers scale - he struggles with social interaction, has to plan his life to the last minute, is not flexible and is well above average intelligence.
At first his thoughts are quite strange but quickly be becomes very endearing and I found myself chuckling at his analyses of his various projects. He thinks differently from most people which comes across in every thought that goes through his head.
It would be easy to ridicule him but this author manages to make Don funny without ever making him an object of fun.
Overall you get a book with a neat and tidy plot of which I think Don would approve.
Great to read something a bit different.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual, light-hearted and extremely funny, 25 April 2015
By 
Terry D "tdawson735" (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
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Don Tillman is a Professor of Genetics - and a textbook example of someone suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Don knows there's something about him that women find unappealing; he also finds it difficult to make friends and, typical of people with OCD, has an above-average intelligence.

Everything about his life is meticulously ordered and precisely scheduled. There's even a Standardised Meal System which not only simplifies shopping but has almost zero waste and produces a planned and nutritionally balanced diet. For his new project - The Wife Project - Don needs a scientifically valid questionnaire that will filter out (amongst other undesirable groups) time wasters, vegans, smokers and religious fanatics.

Then Rosie walks into his life...

Rosie is highly intelligent, extremely attractive - and with dyed red hair. But, when it comes to meeting the requirements of The Wife Project questionnaire, Rosie is obviously an utter and complete non-starter.

As the relationship develops - as, of course, it must - The Wife Project (now almost solved) is taken over by The Father Project. Brought up by her mother Rosie is uncertain about her true biological father. To a geneticist like Don the solution is utterly straightforward: since the men in her mother's life are easily identified they simply need to obtain DNA samples (from wine glasses, toothbrushes and hairbrushes) that can be compared with Rosie's DNA...

It's extremely obvious and extremely simple - and with hilarious consequences.

Read and enjoy; it's a well-written and genuinely funny book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Laughing at disability?, 5 May 2015
This review is from: The Rosie Project: Don Tillman 1 (Paperback)
I read to the end but only because a few friends are also reading it and I would like to discuss it with them at some point. The central joke is Don's thinking patterns and behaviour, presented as Aspergers. I felt as though I was being drawn to laugh at Don because of his largely uncontrollable personality traits. Due to that I didn't find it funny, or sympathetic. The characters are paper thin anyway.
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63 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am in love with Don Tillman. An absolute joy of a book., 13 May 2013
By 
K. J. Noyes "Katy Noyes" (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Rosie Project (Hardcover)
I was around two pages in when I realised I was falling in love with the main character. Not many books make you feel from the first chapter that you never want the book to end; that the journey you're starting with a character is going to be a complete joy. By page three, I was already casting the film roles in my head.

I've read several books very recently with highly intelligent but socially awkward male narrators. This is definitely a class above. Don is a fully-formed, routine-driven, social misfit. He's frustrating, maddening but completely adorable.

Don may be the awkward (genetics) Professor but he is also lonely, and so he designs a 'foolproof' questionnaire to weed out unsuitable women as part of his Wife Project. No woman who doesn't fit the criteria can be considered. You may think you know where this is going...

His search for a perfect partner is at the core of the book. It's a search that brings a smile to the reader's face as Don faces situations in which his literal self struggles with social conventions, and often causes titters, sniggers and beaming smiles at his reactions, and those of people around him. There are some wonderful set-pieces; the dancing scene at the start hard to beat.

It's important to stretch yourself sometimes with a challenging book and it's just as important to wallow in a warm-hearted and comic story.

This is begging for a Hollywood adaptation. Just cast it right, please, producers!

Such a fabulous read. One of the very few I may put on the 'to read again' list. High praise indeed...
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A feel-good easy read with a difference, 3 Jan. 2014
By 
J Hutch (North Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Rosie Project: Don Tillman 1 (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this, and couldn't put it down. On one hand its a light funny rom-com, that feels like it will be a successful feel-good film, on the other hand it educates the normal socially adept reader to see the social world from an alternative point of view. We see the world from Don's view point, an Australian genetics professor with many Asperges traits. I found it hard not to give him an American accent because he is very much like Sheldon in the 'Big Bang Theory'. By the end, though, Don's character is definitely distinct from Sheldon's (though in reality such a big change in social skills is unlikely to occur). I think they are both great, not because I think they are hilarious, as some readers do, but because I can relate to their way of thinking, which really makes me smile. Thankfully I only have a few of the traits, like sometimes taking things literally and finding it hard to lie or break rules.
I think it's ironic that so many readers seemed to have warmed to Don's character yet in real life many people keep their distance from those who are affected by Asperges syndrome. I hope the book helps to educate the public, and make them more understanding of those who are different. Ah, but I should explain, it's not Don that is different, it's everyone else!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prepare for an unexpected love story!, 10 Dec. 2014
By 
Lola (London) - See all my reviews
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Delightful, totally delightful, inspiring, humourous, kind-hearted, charming and amusing book. "The Rosie Project" is a unconventional and comical love story, about looking for love, and finding it, and fighting for it.

Once I got into "The Rosie Project" (and it took me a day or two), I just could not put it down! What a charming character Graeme Simsion created! Hooray for Don! Weird and wonderful! The book has its faults (the biased portrayal of aspergers syndrome, the narrative that many people might disagree with), but all in all it's a fun, peculiar and almost "intellectual" love story. Sometimes very funny, sometimes tear-jerking.

I could not wait to start The Rosie Effect: Don Tillman 2 the minute I finished "The Rosie Project". Recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Professor Tillman searches for love, 24 May 2015
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This review is from: The Rosie Project: Don Tillman 1 (Paperback)
Knocking on age forty, autistic Professor Don Tillman, genetics authority, launches a highly scientific search for a wife. Along the way he meets Rosie who, although unsuitable as a potential mate, does inspire him to embark with her on another quest: to discover her real father through clandestine DNA testing. This unlikely pair form the heart of a very funny and heart-warming book that will have you laughing out loud. You will love Don Tillman who is completely aware that he is wired differently, and struggles gamely to understand the rules of conventional social engagement. Quick to read, hard to put down, this delightful novel leaves a smile on your face!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rosie Project not credible, 31 May 2015
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I have to admit I couldn't quite get the point ofThe Rosie Project. As the protagonist wasn't in anyway credible, whether or not he succeeded in finding a love life was almost irrelevant. Sorry. I'm probably too much of a realist.
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The Rosie Project: Don Tillman 1
The Rosie Project: Don Tillman 1 by Graeme Simsion (Paperback - 2 Jan. 2014)
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