Book Review: The Rosie Project

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is basically a chick-lit novel written by a male Australian author in his fifties, which is a combination that makes it intriguing in itself.

The main character (and narrator) is Don Tillman, a genetics professor who sounds exactly like Sheldon from the TV show The Big Bang Theory, to the point that some reviewer said it reads almost like Fan Fiction.

The Best of Sheldon Cooper (aka Don Tillman??)

Now, I really liked this premise. I love The Big Bang Theory and Jim Parsons as Sheldon, especially back in Season 2 or so when it was almost sublime. I liked the idea of a romance novel written by a man. I like the idea of a socially awkward male scientist devising a scientific approach to finding a mate.

And I started out really enjoying The Rosie Project. I heard the entire book as I was reading it in the voice of Sheldon Cooper, which was not a bad thing as far as I was concerned, and I found Don’s reactions and observations amusing.

But then the book shifts from focusing on The Wife Project to The Father Project.

Don meets Rosie Jarman, who is nothing like the type of woman who would fit The Wife Project. Rosie describes herself as having issues and being “f—up” because of her father, Phil. Yes, Phil was such an abusive dad  that when he was still in a wheelchair and rehab after the accident that killed his wife/Rosie’s mother, he promised to take Rosie to Disney Land … and he never did!

Wow. No wonder Rosie is messed up. Anyone would need serious therapy to recover from this (which appears to be the only real complaint she has about Phil).

But wait — it turns out Phil isn’t really her biological father! Yes, he raised her, but it turns out that Rosie’s mother had a one night stand with some Mystery Man from her graduating class at medical school, and Mystery Man must be Rosie’s “real father”!

Hurray! Now all Rosie needs to do is find Mystery Man, and she can finally have a decent father who can step in and shove Mean Old Phil aside and be the daddy Rosie always longed for.

For reasons I couldn’t quite understand, Sheldon — uh, I mean Don — decides to help Rosie with The Father Project — you know, him being a genetics professor and all. Together the two of them plot and scheme and lie and break codes of ethics and literally travel halfway around the world swabbing and testing the DNA of possible Mystery Men.

I found this whole bit (which, unfortunately, was the bulk of the book) silly, childish, and more than a little unbelievable, not to mention that it got old after a while.

**** SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! ****

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But hey, at the very end of the book, they do find a definite DNA match and discover who the Mystery Man, Rosie’s “real” father is,  and it’s … are you ready for this?

It’s Phil! Rosie’s father really is her father!

Which means that all that swabbing and testing and traveling and lying — and basically almost everything that happened in the book — was pretty much a complete waste of time!

But it’s okay. Because if it hadn’t happened, Rosie and Don wouldn’t have fallen in love and gotten married.

{Rolls eyes.}


So … I definitely liked parts of this book (ironically, my favorite part was before Rosie appeared), but I can’t truly say I liked the book.

Now off to go watch an episode of The Big Bang Theory!




 

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