The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

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I felt like after my last post about second hand stores and bargain bins, this would be a good follow up book review. I found this book in mint condition at a second hand store, so I only paid a fraction of the price! I had been hemming and hawing over this book for a while. It was getting great reviews, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to drop so much money on a book/author that I knew little about. The synopsis sounded cute, but it wasn’t anything special.
Boy, was I ever wrong.
I am so glad I took a chance on Rosie and Don, because they are both highly amusing. So I guess that’s another lesson to remember, Book Babies: don’t judge a book by the synopsis! The story in The Rosie Project was far more detailed and captivating than what the synopsis provides, surprising me with how much I adored their journey from friends to lovers.

I will admit that the first few chapters had me a little nervous. Don was a little too smart for his own good, making him sort of unlikable. He seemed like a version of Sheldon (from The Big Bang Theory) without the dorky, childish charm. Don only had the know-it-all attitude of Sheldon, making you want to slap him every time he corrected a character or said something that just makes you feel stupid. Without the sweet qualities Sheldon possesses, Don is hard to forgive. It wasn’t until he creates ‘The Wife Project’ that I began to laugh at the things that once made him annoying. Every time a woman failed his questionnaire, I would scoff and chuckle at his inability to understand why he couldn’t find mate (both of his choosing and of any girls choosing). He got what he deserved, which was highly amusing. When Rosie comes into the picture, failing his test more than anyone, you can’t help but get excited for the ridiculous exchanges that will ensue. She isn’t afraid to say the things the reader is thinking, reminding Don that he is flawed just like the rest of us. When he begins to help her with ‘The Father Project’, you know that their relationship is on the way to becoming something beyond the humour. The progression of their love is perfectly paced, making it seem real.

I love how Rosie challenges Don. She calls him on his bull shit, and tries to get him out of his comfort zone by questioning his habits, fighting his assumptions, and spontaneously changing his schedules. It is obvious that she cares for him, which makes her reaction to his confession of love so surprising. Despite my earlier claims of disliking Don, I couldn’t help but cheer for him to triumph in winning Rosie’s heart.

The thing that was predictable was the fact that when Don finally found someone who passes his ‘Wife Project’ questionnaire, he doesn’t find her appealing at all (he only has eyes for Rosie ). The Rosie Project is the ultimate opposites attract novel. They couldn’t be more different, and yet they balance each other out.
*cue Jerry Maguire* You… complete… me.
But he didn’t have her at hello.
Far from it. That’s what makes their journey so fantastic. They were both the last people they’d expect to end up with, and yet it seems like the only thing that could possibly make sense.

Gene is also a very compelling character. He’s such a womanizing ass hole, but you can’t help but applaud him for his accomplishments. Believe me when I say that I’m totally against womanizers and Man-eaters as a basic concept, but you have to admit that they often make for interesting characters in novels and real life depending on the people you come across in life. I don’t want to say too much about Gene’s story for fear of giving away a major plot point, but I will say that his womanizing ways make him the third most interesting character in this novel. His sexual project and justifications behind it are so wildly amusing that you sort of encourage his behaviour in anticipation for more stories.

The modern mystery feel that Rosie brings to the story also gives us something other than than their relationship to focus on. It was like they were a subtle version of Sherlock and Watson (genius, antisocial Don is Sherlock, and grouchy, determined Rosie is Watson), solving a lifelong mystery that could define Rosie’s existence. It’s a great way to force these two opposites together, for they would never choose to hang out on their own. Graeme did a great job at balancing the love story with the mystery adventure to keep her readers engaged. Whenever I felt like the romance could use a break, Graeme was always a step ahead by making the next chapter about ‘The Father Project’, and vice versa.

I enjoyed this novel so much that I bought the sequel (also in mint condition from a second hand store!). Although,  I’m not sure how Graeme could possibly top his first book. I also don’t know what else he can do for the story. He ended The Rosie Project so perfectly that I don’t really know where they could go from here (from a plot line perspective). I hope it either solitifies my love for these characters or makes me love them even more; there’s nothing worse than a sequel turning your beloved characters into something hateful, leaving you with nothing but regret!

So enjoy this charming little novel, Book Babies! We might be seeing it on the big screen soon if the rumours are true!

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