If You Like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory……
Then you’ll love The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion Kimberly from Robina Library suggested I read this one, and I have to say her recommendation is a good one. Don Tillman is a brilliantly smart man who works at a Melbourne University. He’s pretty much only got two friends, Gene and Claudia who are married to each other and both psychologists. They are in an open marriage where Gene has a goal to sleep with a woman from every country on Earth. Don doesn’t see anything wrong with this, as he sees the world without the hindrance of requirements to follow social protocol influencing how everyone should behave. Therefore he doesn’t believe in marriage, but feels he still would like to find a life partner, he’s prepared to get married if that’s what his life partner wants, he’s flexible on that. However he’s certainly not flexible on a lot of other things, as he knows that if he is, the relationship will eventually fail, and Don does everything as efficiently as possible. So he has come up with a scientific questionnaire to be taken by his would be life partners. He has dubbed this endeavour, the Wife Project and is constantly tweaking it after something goes wrong in each date, such as woman believing there is a difference between apricot and peach ice cream. He also has a side project going after he mistakenly believed an attractive woman who visited his office was sent by Gene as a successful applicant for his Wife Project. He can’t believe why Gene sent his worst match ever but before he found this out she had asked him as professor of genetics to help her find out who her real father is, the candidates being her now deceased mother’s school class. This father project is an interesting challenge for Don to do while his Wife project struggles to find candidates. Don looks at the world differently to your regular guy. He follows routines, doing things at set times of day, eating specific meals on certain days of the week, chooses the least impact on the environment mode of transport and dresses for the purpose or the conditions while totally ignoring fashion. In fact there’s an hilarious piece of dialogue between him and the restaurant greeter about how his expensive hiking type jacket coat is much superior to the type of coat to what they want him to wear under their dress code. He tells us throughout the novel he has misdiagnosed with a number of medical labels, such as Aspergers, Autism, Bipolar and schizophrenia that he knows through his own research are the wrong diagnosis. We in fact never find out why Don is like he is, probably because to him ultimately it doesn’t matter. This probably is also a good idea so potential readers who themselves or family members with any of the aforementioned conditions won’t be offended by anything Don does and send angry letters to the author. Don just understands his brain works differently to everyone else. The best way to describe Don would be like the character Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory, less the superiority to everyone else on the planet complex. He also shows no interest in Star Trek and those sorts of stereotypical nerdy things, in fact he is a master of Aikido and other martial arts, rock climbing and other skills he saw as vital to exceeding in life and that he uses at some stage in this novel, much to our reading enjoyment. The Rosie Project is a situation comedy type book. It is hard to categorise what genre it is, definitely isn’t a romance novel, or chick lit. You could call it a mystery as Don has to work out who Rosie’s father is. I guess similar authors would be Mike Gayle, Jonathan Tropper, John O’Farrell, but really the The Rosie Project is pretty unique, there’s not much point trying to categorise it. You’ll find this book in our general collection as well as on the Hot Reads stands.
Update October 2014 – There’s now a sequel called The Rosie Effect. See my comment below to read about it.