Gavin F (gavluvsga) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Gavin F

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Book #19: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Number of pages: 285

I was intrigued by this book just by reading the title, and it revolves around thirtysomething Professor Don Tillman, a single man who has Asberger's syndrome. He has difficulty finding the perfect woman, so he devises a questionnaire to find whether the women he meets are compataible (in other words, they meet his very pernickety standards). He eventually meets the eponymous Rosie and dates her, only to realise that she is completely incompatible with him.

However, Don is intrigued when Rosie reveals that she doesn't know who her biological father is and, deciding to try and be friends with her, Don sets out to help her find out who it is, mostly through obtaining DNA and performing scientific tests.

Throughout the book, Don and Rosie have a very typical "will-they-or-won't-they" relationship, but although I could guess how it would end, I found this book very enjoyable.

The main reason for this was because the character of Don (who narrates the whole story) is very easy to empathise with, particularly as I was diagnosed with Asberger's a few years ago, and I could tell that Graeme Simsion had researched the condition very well.

So, Don is portrayed as someone who finds social interactions different, and who is obsessed with order and routines, getting upset if someone upsets his plans. Every time he meets a character, his immediate response is to very precisely guess their age and body mass index in a compulsive manner.

The other thing I noticed in the book was that often Don just did not understand certain things that were happening. For example, when Rosie does air quotes at one point, he starts describing her body language and what he sees her do, but doesn't straight away get the meaning. In another scene, he enters a gay bar and starts commenting that it is full of friendly people in odd costumes, without realising why they're being so friendly towards him. My first impression of the character was that he was very much like an Australian version of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory.

Something else that was very clear throughout was that Don just did not understand the concept of dating and physical attraction, and it was easy to feel sorry for him as he struggled through his relationships, and also how he was desperately trying to change his own behaviour.

Overall, the way that Don is portrayed, with his extensive backstory and depth of character was what made this such a good book for me. I liked the fact that it had a good mixture of drama and humour throughout.

Also, in case you get at all curious when reading the book, Don's questionnaire is printed near to the back (as well as some cocktail recipes!), and you can see what sort of standards he sets for his women. Overall, a recommended book.

Next book: Buttoned-Up (Fantastic Man)
Tags: 1001 books to read before you die, autism, book review, fiction, love, mental health, recommended book, romance

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