September 4, 2014
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Occasionally, I write about a book so bad I just need to spew my feelings about it all over the screen.
And every once in a while, I read a book that I have such confused emotions about that I need to see what you all think.
The Rosie Project falls into the last category.
I first heard of it when Modern Mrs Darcy included it on her summer reading guide. She mentioned the Kindle version was only $2 and so, in a rare fit of spendiness, I bought it (it might actually be the first Kindle book I've ever purchased. I'm definitely Amazon's target demographic right here. Libraries forever).
And then, of course, it sat around on my Kindle unread for some three months. Finally, on the airplane last week, I started reading it. After about 30 pages, I thought "Hmm, I'm not sure about this one."
But then, in the car, when I could no longer stand staring at the back of the driver's seat any longer, I braved some wicked motion sickness and read for about three hours. That night, when we got to the hotel, I finished up by flashlight after the girls were asleep.
So obviously, it was fairly entertaining.
But it definitely wasn't one where I immediately wanted to recommend it to everyone I know. (In fact, I posted about it on Instagram, and many people felt the same way, but even more just flat-out loved it).
First let me tell you a little about the story, and then some of the reasons I'm a little hesitant about it.
Don Tillman is a science professor at a major university. He's also definitely odd. He has exactly two friends (a fellow professor and that professor's wife), and he lives a religiously-scheduled life. He calculates the BMI of everyone he comes in contact with, makes exactly the same meals every week, and has bare walls in his house (after all, once you.
It's pretty clear, although never specifically mentioned, that he falls somewhere on the spectrum.
Then, Don decides that what he needs is a wife. He's tried dating in the past but it's never gone beyond a first date (later in the book, Rosie says "didn't you think it was odd that I'd ask about ______ on a first date?" to which Don replies "Not really. On a date I'm too focused on not saying odd things myself"). This time, to save himself the headache of sorting through a million unsuitable candidates (not to mention time-wasting dates), Don puts together a lengthy questionnaire to have prospective wives fill out.
But all his efforts prove for nothing when he meets Rosie, who meets practically none of his criteria (she smokes, she's habitually late, she's a BARTENDER, for crying out loud - Don can't even believe she can carry on a semi-intelligent conversation) but needs his help on The Father Project, her quest to hunt down her unknown father - her mother died years earlier, so she doesn't have a lot to go on.
As Don gets further into the project, his rigidly scheduled life spirals more and more into chaos, but he also might be falling in love. Is that even possible?
Basically every review or blurb I've read of this book refers to it as a screwball comedy or a quirky love-story. And let me tell you, neither of those are words I usually like to describe my books.
Not only is Don about 10 doses of odd, the storyline itself is pretty wild, with a lot of totally unbelievable twists.
So the wackiness is one reason I'm hesitant about it, since I am wary of recommending books that I'm not at all sure people will appreciate.
And then there is a fair amount of swearing in it (I find that I don't tend to notice swearing all that much when I'm reading text - it stands out much more to me when I'm listening to an audiobook - but this one was pretty noticeable).
Also, although there's no sex that ever takes place in the book (either on or off-screen), there's quite a lot of TALK about it, mostly on the part of the best friend professor who apparently has a goal to sleep with a woman from every country in the world. And yes, he's married. When this was mentioned early on, I just about gave up on the book right there. My tolerance for adultery is about zero, even fictional adultery.
But it's also just quite charming - Don, despite his oddities, is really likable, and Rosie is hilarious, and the story moves along at a brisk, unpredictable pace, with a lot of great character development. And it's a definite twist on the romantic comedy genre.
And it's so FUN to see Don and Rosie's relationship haltingly develop as both of them get to know the other person.
There's a sequel coming out later this month, and I'm fairly sure I'll read it.
So. . .anyone else read it? Care to tell me what to think about this book? Anyone else have mental angst over books long after they finished the last chapter?
Digital copy purchased with my own hard-earned $2