Monday, June 3, 2013

The Rosie Project

The Rosie Project
Graeme Simsion

Every once in a while, an author creates a character so genuinely and lovably eccentric that readers can’t help wanting to know more about his or her fictional life. One of those characters is Don Tillman, professor of genetics and unlikely husband in Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project.

The Rosie Project outlines Don’s commendable efforts at finding a compatible life partner—a task challenging for the most “normal” of people, let alone someone isolated by his vast intellect and deficient social skills. A master of efficiency, Don rejects the scornful ineptitude of the “traditional dating paradigm.” Turning to the scientific method, Don formulates a plan to maximize his probability of finding a well-matched life mate: a comprehensive survey entitled “The Wife Project.” Naturally, the course of love does not run smooth: Don realizes that despite sound planning and strong logic, things turn out for the best when they run a more whimsical path.

Overall, Don is a character who captured me with his humility and vulnerability. He approaches new social trials as learning opportunities, studying “protocols” of human behavior and complex emotional dynamics. His delight in new discovery and simple pleasures like having dinner on a balcony during a rain reminds one to be mindful of those fleeting moments of true human connection and gladness. Readers have something to learn from Don Tillman: even in the face of almost-certain failure, a sincere desire to learn and grow can bring about the most heart-warming and comical of storylines.

- Amie Willoughby

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