The Rosie Project – a great Summer read

Well, You can’t say I don’t offer variety here! One thing I like about not reading for a course or job at the moment is that I can read whatever I like, though it makes life easier if I manage the Bookworms’ choices every month!

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion  is not the usual type of book I would pick up to read by choice. Set in contemporary Australia, dealing with a male academic with romantic and life problems, this is an unusual comedy, but with some realistic and sad events. Don is a Genetics Professor, who, as he realises, has a “differently wired brain”. I’m not sure what diagnosis  the author would give to his main character, but it soon emerges that while Don has some difficulty with everyday life, managing emotions and just understanding what is going on for other people, the other characters in the book do not exactly behave predictably as well. 

Don decides to conduct a scientific search for a wife based on a questionnaire which he believes will guarantee that he only has to spend time on the most compatible woman he can encounter. It emerges that he has very few friends who can advise him, and more people who quickly become exasperated by him. He is nevertheless thoughtful and loyal, especially to Daphne. By chance he encounters the unusual character of  Rosie, who is strong enough to present alternatives to him, encourage spontaneity, and presents a whole new way of life to him via a project to find her father. This involves Don in a whole host of new activities, including cocktail making, wall climbing and discovering that what motivates people can be tricky to understand, but a lot more satisfying than routine.

This book, according to the acknowledgements, was developed in part through film and dialogue workshops. There are references to When Harry Met Sally and other films including my all time favourite, Casablanca.

This book is so obviously set up to be filmed that I am surprised that the details are not on the dust jacket!  The other similarity is to the very funny comedy which again I am unusually keen on: The Big Ban Theory

And I am quite keen on this series; I even have the calender  on the kitchen wall…

So, to get back to the book. I enjoyed this book as a quick, fairly light read. It deals with the  big questions of identity, what makes people behave in certain ways, and the nature of “normal”. It has science, romance and comedy, as well as martial arts, music and dancing. For all those finishing exams, it is ideal relaxing reading with some interesting ideas, and for the rest of us, a cheerful book about life, the universe and everything.

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