Monday, December 9, 2013

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

I was going to publish this review on Sunday evening, but my daughter stopped by unexpectedly with her boyfriend, (it was WONDERFUL to see her!!!) so I was unable to do so. Here it is now!

Goodreads Description:
An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.

My Take:
3 low stars
In this debut novel, the author was very successful in the very first couple of chapters of painting an excellent picture of this protagonist, Don Tillman, Professor of Genetics, a high functioning person with Asperger's Syndrome as the perfect nerd, and that he is, but he is too much of the perfect nerd by the third chapter, "for my liking".
I'm just a regular person who does not know about Aspergers Syndrome who happened to think this book sounded good after reading a little bit of it from the Book Buzz 2013. I was 'not' expecting what this book delivered.
I think if you have this or know someone with Aspergers Syndrome, then this book would be 'perfect' for you. As for the general public who knows barely a thing about this such as myself, or just a different way of life these people live, I think it's a difficult read. This is my opinion. (After reading a few reviews about this book, it makes me kind of scared to write what I really think about this book because other people really went after someone else who rated this book as a 3-star book, however I can't allow that to bother me or allow that to influence my 'opinion'.) I was not prepared for a book like this, and in the description it should have been noted. All it said was 'someone who had to overcome difficult challenge's', leaving me to believe this guy is just a regular, corny ol' nerd. I NEVER expected to be reading about a person with Aspergers Syndrome.
With that being said, I know nothing about Aspergers Syndrome, so please be nice to me about my opinion about thinking I'm just reading a book about a huge nerd. I'm not going to apologize in the comments about my ineptness about this syndrome at all because I am NO expert. As I said, I expected a book about a NERD.
Don is so outlandish, full of many paralyzing hang-ups, repetitive must-do’s, and OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, you really wonder ‘how’ he can even hold down a job as a Professor, or how the University he works at could even keep him on as staff! How could he relate to his students if he can’t get through his own ordinary life like everyone else? I don’t even want to think of how he would have treated his students, as he would have been a very difficult instructor, and a hard one to relate to, so I am very glad the author did not take us there.
This nerd could not face anything in life without great difficulty with it, (most likely due to the Aspbegers) and I think this book was edited in showing how much of a ‘perfect nerd’ he was that instead of this book being humorous, for myself it was the complete opposite. At times he just seemed like a very different person who was very strange, had a scientific answer for everything, and relied on reasoning everything with scientific data.
This book was VERY different and difficult reading for me. as I thought I was going to be reading a fictional book about a nerd in general, not about a person who has Aspergers Syndrome.
The following was used all through the book which I believe the author and editors thought was funny, but for EVERY person he saw, thought of, or came face to face with he automatically calculated their BMI - Body Mass Index. Why? It was not even funny but irritating! This had to be a part of his OCD but ALL through the book? It was not funny after about the fourth time, and believe me, it did not stop at four, but continued on and on and on. I was rolling my eyes. Again, this could have been the Aspergers Syndrome.
This man could not face the simplest tasks in life, but when he reached the age of forty, he decided  because of his age, it was time he found himself a wife, especially after a friend suggests it. (WHAT woman would be able to put up with a person like this? A very tolerant one, IMO.) When questioned as to HOW he was going to find a ‘wife’, Don backs it up with ‘scientific research’ stating there is ‘evidence based proof’ that with the right questioning and matchmaking “there is someone for everyone”. A statement he relied upon. So Don embarks upon “The Wife Project”. (A better name for the book?)
Except . . . Don does not use a computer service for this Wife Project, instead he comes up with his own 19 PAGE QUESTIONNAIRE ‘any’ woman he comes into contact with he hands one to to fill out, upon receipt back of this form he would know how the women answered the questions if that woman would be right for him.
He met with friends for dinner, two friends out of the five he had which he could count on one hand. They encouraged him to remove some of the questions, which he did, but it was still a 16 page questionnaire.
There was one very important angle this questionnaire did not cover. Love. What good was this questionnaire without love, is what went through my mind, but he went out and handed these out to every woman he saw. He actually got some back! With having the perfect scientific based ‘woman’, but without ‘love’, how would get get through any of the good and the bad times in a marriage? This guy doesn’t have a clue. What is most important to him is compatibility, I guess.
Don is introduced to one of his friend’s friend, Rosie, as she needed a Professor of Genetics to help her find her father as she was adopted and needed to turn to genetics to find her father. She knew her mother but wanted to find her father. She knew of the probable men her mother could have slept with, and was going to start there. The two of them now embark on this journey of trying to find her father, Don puts The Wife Project on the back-burner, and instead he embarks with Rosie on “The Father Project”. Another possible second name for the book? Now this book has a completely different agenda to it, and now instead the book is name “The Rosie Project”? Hmmm.
We know Rosie is not the right match for Don because we know some of her answers, and she doesn’t fit any of them, plus she smokes! Rosie is out of the picture for that right off the bat.
The problem with this book is the main character is so way out there, not to mention we are not able to relate to him. With a character you cannot relate to, how are we are supposed to love the guy, want to invest our time in this book, etc.? We can’t even relate to Rosie because the author never gives us the chance to really relate on a personal level to her. Not being able to relate to any character in a book makes for a LONG read. Maybe there are some people out there who can tolerate this character’s idiosyncrasies, and maybe even like him and Rosie, too, but I was not one of them.
I kept thinking about better books I have and could have been reading. This one just didn’t do a thing for me. Evidently oodles of other people loved this book and gave it 5 stars, so maybe this book is worthy of a higher rating than what I felt it’s worth? Maybe I missed something somewhere important to make this funny? I have read funny books, but those books were stories told that the a person could relate to. This story was not one of them, again IMO.
There was a lot of hype about this book. Advertising, Goodreads highlighted it, it was advertised on Amazon, in the Book Buzz 2013 Fall/Winter Reading book, and now I know why. The concept is great, but the execution was ‘very’ long and boring. I almost quit reading it several times, but I pushed on. I did not want to have a DNF.
The last chapter is fast and furious and wraps the book up with a LOT of information. I wish the author could have added some of the last chapter throughout the book instead of leaving it all for the end, especially adding a little romance. Most likely that would have made the book much more interesting.
I would rate this book a 2.5 normally, and my rating scale for a 3 is high. 2.5 is to not finish this book and toss it, but since I got it from the publisher through NetGalley, I felt obligated to finish it, otherwise I never would have. So I rated this at a 3 star rating which is a Take it or Leave It. The author does have a little talent for writing, and the idea was a good one, but he couldn’t pull it off 'for me'. As I said, I need characters I can relate to, and if that’s not there, it’s work to read it, not enjoyment. This one is a Leave it for me.
I received this book for FREE from the Publisher, Simon and Schuster through NetGalley, in exchange to read and write a review about it. It is NOT required for this review to be either positive or negative, but of my own honest opinion. "Free" means I was provided with ZERO MONIES to read this book nor to write this review, but to enjoy the pure pleasure of reading it. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255,
Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

1 comment:

  1. Delightful, insightful, belly laughs and chuckles this book is a must read. In our own ways, each of us can relate to the woes of the main character somehow. You learn to love his quirky ways and are rooting for him by the end of the book. A nice change of pace and a great debut novel for this writer.
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