Home > Lifestyle > Books > Reviews
Friday September 6, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday September 6, 2013 MYT 8:01:22 AM
By AMANDA SOO
DON Tillman is looking for a wife. He is an intelligent and successful associate professor of genetics, physically very fit, lives in a nice apartment, can cook a great meal and is not too shabby in the looks department. He has everything going on for him as a promising life partner, and has been on many dates. The only problem is he has never been on a second date.
To start off, Don is socially awkward, which is what hinders every first date from progressing on to a second. Secondly, he has a very high expectation for who qualifies as his wife. To name a few criteria: she must not smoke, must not be a drinker, must hold high regard for punctuality (just like him) and must not be a vegetarian.
In his quest to look for the perfect wife, Don decides to embark on the “Wife Project”. Since he is a science professor, it seems only natural that his project would constitute a 16-page questionnaire for potential life partners to answer, from which he would be able to pick the best candidate that fits his criteria.
Amidst this project, Rosie Jarman comes into the picture in search of her biological father. She goes to Don for help since he is a genetic expert. Rosie is intelligent and engaging, but she is also exactly everything that Don will not ask for in a future wife.
Don usually does not like to be distracted from carrying out his project, but he decides that it is okay to take up some of his time to help Rosie on her project in finding out the identity of her real father.
We all can make a guess early on that this is a story about two unassuming persons crossing paths and finding love in each other. However, what makes this story endearing is not the outcome, but the journey that Rosie and Don have to go through – in becoming friends, and then partners in crime – before they finally come to acknowledge their feelings for each other.
This makes for a surprisingly remarkable and entertaining read as its narration is by the main character himself. Don is too frank for his own good, inflexible in many ways and also shows symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome. You can look forward to all these elements being reflected in his narration.
Do not, however, expect to be reading a literary work of poetic prose, for Don finds no practicality thinking in such a way. There are no impressive words to tell the story. Simsion uses words in a direct and logical way that befits Don’s character and personality.
Throughout the story, Don’s need to explain the most basic of events and even state the time of events to the exact minute, surprisingly, does not fall flat but adds an engaging dimension in revealing his character.
No doubt, Don is an odd man. What this book does is make you fall in love with the character, despite his disregard for what others think about him and his lack of conscious effort in being a likable person.
You won’t be laughing at him for all the social gaffes that he commits. Instead, you will be laughing with him as you look at the world through his lens. By the end of the book, you won’t be able to help but like him.
In spite of his many quirks – or more likely, because of them – he is able to overcome the ordeals thrown his way. And of course, Rosie will play a big part in helping him learn many of the big life lessons. Through this journey, we get to see a genuine friendship form before there is pursuit of a romance, which is refreshing to see in the midst of novels that often build romance without the foundation of friendship.
Simsion may not have painted the most accurate representation of a person with Asperger’s, but this story makes for an engaging read, and offers an interesting perspective of a person who thinks differently from most of society.
The Rosie Project has just enough substance to make it good for a day of light reading.
Tags / Keywords:
The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion, Penguin Group, fiction
Copyright © 1995-2013 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)