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148 of 153 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 16 months ago by Kartowidjojo

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21 of 21 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 5 months ago by little bookworm


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21 of 21 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: Don Tillman 1 (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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148 of 153 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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101 of 107 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ''Big Bang'' scientists play the dating game and some !, 14 Aug 2014
By 
Mrs T (West Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rosie Project: Don Tillman 1 (Kindle Edition)
I took this on holiday to the Orlando,USA with me and every night had a bit of ''wind down alone time'' with this hilarious and definately not my usual genre book.....suffice to say after a day in the parks with the kids this was the perfect remedy, an easy read, I loved the characters and found them really funny. Don Tillman, could quite easily have walked off the show the ''Big Bang Theory'' and is a hilarious geneticist with leaning towards autistic spectrum character. The story is written through his eyes - I laughed so much ! His friend Gene is a character !! and well Rosie, you never quite now where she is going to go next, she is the unpredictable character of the whole book. This book is not about getting to the end, it's about the ''journey''. I usually read Jodi Picoult, Dianne Chamberlain as well as other good current fiction. This book was not my usual, and I am so glad I purchased it. If you like quirky characters and maybe a bit of romance ? , not telling, then def. worth reading this book.....def. worth the hype, I loved every minute of it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars DULL, DULL DULL, 18 May 2014
I was loaned this book by a friend (who is very discerning) and told it was hysterically funny. I can only say that such humour as there is tires after the first 50 pages. Maybe it would work as a movie script. It certainly doesn't work in 327 pages of turgid and repetitive prose! The art of exaggeration (of literary characters) requires great expertise. This author simply doesn't have it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We're all somewhere on the spectrum, 21 Aug 2014
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Don Tillman is a Professor of Psychology at an Australian University. He likes to live his life according to the routine and rules that he has fashioned - strict timing and set routines. However having researched that he would have a better life with a partner he decides to go and find one. With the help of his friends Don puts together a questionnaire designed to find him a wife but it doesn't prove successful. Then Rosie appears in his life and for some reason he decides to help her on her quest to find her biological father. Rosie is everything Don does not want in a partner.

Despite his peculiarities Don is an incredibly likeable character and, as a reader, one ends up wanting him to find love. Whilst Simsion admits that 'The curious incident of the dog in the night' was an influence this is not a copy, the plot is original and funny. This is a fantastic book that really entertains.
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62 of 73 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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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
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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5.0 out of 5 stars The Rosie Project, 20 Sep 2014
By 
Lucybird (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
Everyone in the book blogosphere seems to have read The Rosie Project, and most of those people have loved it, I’ve not seen one negative review. I am no exception. I loved The Rosie Project.

It was cute and funny, and romantic, and quirky. Don was such a unique, yet believable character. He was a little bit of a less asexual Sheldon Cooper (of The Big Bang Theory).

Big Bang Theory, Sheldon, Sheldon Cooper, Bazinger, books, The Rosie project
Sheldon
Rosie is Don’s complete antithesis, but, for some reason, it works. Rosie takes Don completely out of his comfort zone, she helps him to relax. Don is so clever, but he’s blind when it comes to women, when it comes to Rosie. It means you see lots of times that Don is being clueless, you want someone to come and show him everything objectively- I think that could have worked for him.

I did love Don as a character. I loved reading the story through his voice. He obviously cares about things, he always works really hard at everything, but he doesn’t understand that you can’t learn everything from books, or in an intellectual way. It’s kind of adorable.

When looking for reviews of The Rosie Project I found out that a sequel is coming out this year. I’m excited to see the sequel but not sure if it will really work, especially if it was written just because The Rosie Project itself was so popular. I fear it won’t meet up to the amazingness of The Rosie Project, but I’ll still read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, touching and a good page turner., 5 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Rosie Project: Don Tillman 1 (Kindle Edition)
An excellent story about love (as opposed to a love story). Following a rather bizarre tale of Genetics Researcher Don and his routines and structures, his best friends open and failing marriage and the life of Rosie a very alternative PhD student as they are all wrapped up in his quest for a Wife.

I loved the fast pace and comedy of the story. Simsion has good comic timing, and the parts of the plot... though quite strange, fit the characters and move though in a believable way. In a lot of ways whilst the circumstances of the novel are unlikely to ever happen in real life (trust me no one dances at University Balls, not like that). The way the love stories come together feel far more real than any other novel I have read if only because they are predicated by the flaws and strengths of the characters - not from outside events.

The characters are well written, even thought the first person perspective of the book relegates them to scenery in some ways; a terrible shame as they were all quite interesting and it would have been nice to learn more of them - rather than their main personality point and their actions. Especially the relationship between Claudia and Don - a lot is hinted to in the book, but its clear she is part mother/part friend/part therapist and part irritated beyond all belief with him.

I felt that Don's conceptualisation was a little stereotypical since whilst its never pinned on Don, its clear the author is aiming for a high functioning ASD character. I found it very jarring on occasion when he "explained" his foibles, but then I am friends with, and married to people with similar differing perspectives on the world. I would not say many cognise their world view quite as clearly as Don... because its all pervasive to them - you do not really think about a lot of your choices like that. Because of it Don does come across as a bit of a caricature, more Sheldon from the Big Bang than a real person (but loveable nonetheless).

But that aside, its touching and funny. There was not a page I turned where I was not routing for the characters or smiling, or indeed slightly cringing in third party embarrassment. Its 'importance' as reported in the media is a little overstated, but don't be put off by the hype. Its very well written and very enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good summer read.
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