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127 of 131 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 14 months ago by Kartowidjojo

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4 of 4 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 3 months ago by little bookworm


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127 of 131 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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96 of 101 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)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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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4 of 4 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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This review is from: The Rosie Project (Kindle Edition)
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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61 of 71 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 500 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not so Rosie, 24 April 2014
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This review is from: The Rosie Project (Kindle Edition)
I thought the story could have been engaging if the female characters were better written. The protagonist, Don, was interesting and funny. But, Rosie, was a spoilt manipulator who still acts like a child. All the other female characters were one dimensional, shallow or feeble minded.
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22 of 26 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 (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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4.0 out of 5 stars It is a very funny read and that is not making fun of the situations that Don finds himself in., 17 July 2014
By 
LindyLouMac (Wales and Italy) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Rosie Project (Paperback)
A recent choice for the Tywyn Book Club that I participate in and although I enjoyed it and had heard about it, I still doubt it is something I would have chosen to read for myself. The style of writing I found was at first not an easy one, but considering the subject matter it fits the concept perfectly.

The male protagonist, Don Tillman is an Asperger's Syndrome Sufferer and finds relationships and the concept of relating to others with emotion a very difficult one to manage. If you know someone with this condition as I do it is even more interesting to see life through a sufferer's eyes. I actually learnt more about how difficult it can be for those people to relate to others, so for that reason alone it was well worth while reading. It is a very funny read and that is not making fun of the situations that Don finds himself in.

Nearing his fortieth birthday Don has decided that the time is right for him to get married, the problem is he has no idea who his future wife is to be. A genetics professor uncomfortable in social situations he has decided that the way forward with his challenge is not to date anyone that is unsuitable. To overcome this obstacle he writes a comprehensive questionnaire that all prospective dates have to complete before he will even consider going out with them. With his good looks, apparently a Gregory Peck look a like he is not short of offers but his impossible high and inflexible demands are not making it easy for him to find the one! Searching for love is not it seems the easy option and maybe love will come looking from an unexpected direction and take him quite by surprise. No spoilers, so to find out if the project is successful read the book, it is worth it, completely different from anything else you have read recently I suspect.

In my opinion 'The Times' nailed it when they said in a review that Don Tillman is one of the most endearing, charming and fascinating literary characters of recent times. Completely in agreement with their comment this has to be recommended reading for those of us that always enjoyed the Adrian Mole character from the late Sue Townsend. Maybe Don Tillman will become just as popular as it would be great to learn more about his life, let us hope Graeme Simsion has plans for a future for his creation.

NB. Since writing the above I have learnt 'The Rosie Effect' will be published in September 2014.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Everything's Rosie?, 28 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Rosie Project (Kindle Edition)
I’ve never seen The Rosie Project in a shop or on a bookshelf and I’ve never met anyone who has read it but I’ve been hearing about it all over the place. It’s like an internet sensation, a viral book, that has been riding high in the Amazon charts for months and has been tempting me to read it for some time. It’s a debut, so perfect for my Day Zero challenge (#27: Read 10 new debut novels) and when I finally spotted it as a Kindle Bargain, I couldn’t resist.

Don Tillman is lots of things – a member of the Autism Spectrum, a highly intelligent College Professor, a Man of routine, a meat eater, a non-smoker, punctual, logical … and single. As he nears his 40th birthday, Don decides it time to launch The Wife Project in an attempt to find a suitable life partner. He creates a lengthy questionnaire and promotes it well, attracting many candidates (a handsome College Professor makes for a good Husband material) but despite his questionnaire, the Women he selects from the candidate list are not suitable in one way or another.

He enlists his friend, Gene, to help him with his quest. He asks Gene to pick one of the as yet unseen candidates and Gene sends Rosie to meet Don. A smoker, a drinker, a vegetarian – Rosie is not what Don is looking for and he wonders how Gene managed to select her. However, Rosie is vibrant, funny and clever and soon Don finds himself letting go a little, freeing himself from his strict routine.

Rosie has one problem, something that has played upon her mind for her entire life – she does not know who her biological Father is and as her Mother died when she was 10, she has no way of finding out. Thus begins The Father Project. With Don’s help on the genetic science front, a night of cocktails, a couple of international flights and a severe lack of ethical protocol, they manage to DNA test the many Men who could possibly be Rosie’s Father. As The Father Project reaches it’s conclusion, Don realises that despite failing his questionnaire in many ways, Rosie might just be The One for him. Don begins his final project – The Rosie Project – but can he persuade Rosie that she should become Mrs Tillman before it’s too late?

Don is a wonderful character – funny, intelligent and unassuming. His dry wit throughout the book is it’s greatest ingredient and you’ll be looking forward to his next literal, yet hilarious comment. Don’s attempts at social interaction also bring great humour, yet at the same time you’ll be astounded at what he can do – such as memorising the cocktail orders of a full reunion party, à la Rain Man and judging what a person’s BMI is just by glancing at them.

I loved that The Rosie Project was told from Don’s point of view – this is not a story about Don, it is a story by Don and I think that makes a world of difference. There is no judgement in this book, Don’s friends will help him when he looks to improve aspects of himself, but there is no pressure on him to change. When Rosie appears, you can tell that she is the same, open to Don’s shortcomings but equally willing to help him overcome them. The fact that Don accepts his lack of natural ability in certain aspects of his life means that the reader does not feel sympathy for him from afar, but joins him on his journey in creating a happier existence for himself.

The Rosie Project is on the whole, an enjoyable, unique romantic comedy but for me, there were a few shortfalls. The ending seemed rushed and predictable, which in standard romcom’s is expected, but in a book such as this which is not only about differences, but appears to be different in itself, it was a little frustrating. There are also moments when it seems as though Don is somehow cured of his condition. The writer throws in a few ad-hoc “Don-isms” to try and counteract this but it just does not seem realistic, and results in both Don and the book as a whole losing their identity somewhat.

My Rating 3/5 – What starts as a unique romantic comedy with a wonderful narrator, disappointingly ends with a hasty, predictable dash in the final chapters. If the many great aspects of The Rosie Project had continued throughout, this could have been a 5* read but as Don starts to lose his identity, the novel follows a similar path. This book makes several valid points; you that you don’t have to be emotional to feel emotion, and you don’t have to eat Lobster every Tuesday and in that vain, you don’t have to agree with every book review you read. With many great reviews out there, it is certainly worth a look to create your own opinion but in my opinion, internet hype and the need for people to embrace difference have given this book a reputation it can’t live up to.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully funny, 14 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Rosie Project (Kindle Edition)
Don Tillman is not your average guy...he's a bit nerdy, he's a little socially awkward, he's totally, refreshingly honest!
Sitting on the Asperger's spectrum, Don had decided to get married - now he just needs to find a wife.
Author, Graeme Simsion, has written a wonderfully funny book with strong, quirky characters and an interesting storyline.
If you enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, you will love this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, 9 May 2013
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This review is from: The Rosie Project (Kindle Edition)
Really enjoyed this - a bit of light and entertaining relief from recent, darker, reads. I love the characters in this book and recognise many. What a laugh!
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