The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (5 out of 5)

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I think reading Jonathan Lethem’s latest so disappointed me that I took a break from reading breakneck pace. Well, to be totally honest, I went back to work after taking time off last week, so I was back to normal breakneck everything else, so the reading has taken a backseat. Until this book. This book saved me for the week. After reading two duds in a row, this was refreshing, funny, and sweet. Yes, sweet. Not a favorite endearment of mine ever, but it’s as refreshing as hearing Matthew Wilder’s 1980’s tune Break My Stride. Overall? It reminded me a ton of Where’d You Go, Bernadette?. I think it’s fair to say this is 2013’s Bernadette. It’s also my second favorite book this year. I recommend you reading it if you’re bored, lost, found, hanging on the edge of the Eiffel Tower with Duran Duran playing in the background, or watching your dog eat the innards of a dead squirrel. Yeah, HollyDay, I mean you. Anyway, read it. You will laugh, you will wonder, you will laugh more, and in the end, you will be surprised. Because it doesn’t end quite as you suspect, and that’s perhaps the greatest joy of all to a reader. So many books I’ve been into the last month or so did not end well, and it blew a lot of the book right into the Suez Canal for me. Happily, this book fulfilled all my expectations and more. If you want me to place it upside a “G Plus Pick”(newly coined, right here, on the blog of the unfulfilled author and bookseller….), I would put it right up there with Matthew Norman’s Domestic Violets. And if you haven’t read it, go pick up a copy of it and do so. I promise, you will need a Depend on you before so, because you will piss your pants laughing. The Rosie Project is very, very similar.

Don Tillman, a brilliant but awkward professor of genetics, has decided he needs to get himself a wife. Not on the Interwebs or Fakebook, as many do these days, but the old fashioned way. He deduces the best way is to make up a survey to weed out the unworthy from the worthy. The survey? 16-pages of hilarity. I wish, as an afterword, that Simsion had included the survey for our, the reader’s, amusement. It’s alluded to several times throughout the book, and it’s unimaginable how that survey would play out if someone whipped it out (oops) for another to fill out, in today’s socially connected to the potty, world.  Likely today’s woman would tell Don to suck it. I think it’s an idea I may steal when I decide it’s time to go back out into the dating cesspool (Laugh..I did).  His Lothario friend and head of psychology, Gene, is his assist and best friend. Gene’s mission in life is to sleep with a woman from every different country. His wife Claudia is also a psychologist and friend of Don’s, who somehow stays married to Gene and doesn’t kill him (most modern day women would not put up with the lackadaisical attitude he takes toward the institution that will put you in an institution). In fact, those two are the only two friends Don really has. Until Rosie. He has Gene’s assistance in THE WIFE PROJECT. It doesn’t work against him, but it doesn’t work for him either…until Rosie.

Rosie Jarman is a spitfire. She’s stunning, free-spirited, drops the F bomb, sees nothing wrong with tying on drink after drink, and frightening and incredibly intelligent. She’s also intrigued by Don, and then ultimately annoyed with him when he disqualifies her for THE WIFE PROJECT based on a number of inconsequential matters. (Ice cream flavors and how you perceive them, for example. I jest not). However, Don may be able to help Rosie out with her self mission, THE FATHER PROJECT. What is THE FATHER PROJECT? Rosie’s trying to locate her biological father. Her mother is deceased and cannot help, and Rosie only has a modicum of information to work with. Don, however, being a brilliant geneticist, has quite a few ideas on how to figure out who her father is. It involves her mother’s graduating class, one chance physical encounter, and a field of possible candidates. The schemes and execution of the attempts to use DNA of the prospective fathers? Is fucking hilarious. I haven’t laughed so hard at a book and the madcap hijinks since, well, it’s been awhile. When the end result does come, well, it’s worth it. I didn’t see it coming, and neither will you, but once you get there, you’ll realize it was worth the innumerable Tilt-A-Whirl spins.

In the meantime, while they are trying to find Don a wife and Rosie her biological father, Don begins realizing that he’s spending all of his time with Rosie enjoying himself, buying new clothes, being less staid than usual, and that he’s noticing more and more how beautiful she is. He makes one wrong move and she backs off. He goes to every last corner of the plain picnic blanket to try to woo her back, only to have her to tell him where to stick it. She also tells Don to cease and desist the FATHER PROJECT,  that she no longer cares. Don does not let up, rather her insistence drives his determination to find out, and instead he makes an even bigger error of judgment that results in her disappearing from his life for a while. Don finally figures out the main puzzle of who Rosie’s father is, but more importantly, he figures out where her heart is and where his own heart currently lies. Its charm lies in the fact that Don is a man of figures and logical deduction who uses a formulaic equation to try to determine who his partner should be, only to discover that Fate holds no free reign cards in her hand. The heart wants what the heart wants (It’s not Shakespeare, I borrowed it from Castle), and Don finds out the hard way and he may stand to lose everything in the end. Does he find Rosie’s father? Does he find a wife? Is it Rosie, or does Gene admit he has feelings for Don and the man who plays “You Belong To The City” on a uke on the corner? Does Don ever get over THE APRICOT ICE CREAM DISASTER? Does he ever recover from the PIG TROTTER INCIDENT?  Does Claudia kick Gene in the nuts like she should? Is Don’s Asperger’s every really addressed? Will the man who needs a spreadsheet or a mathematical equation to deal with life and feelings, ever step outside of his comfort zone, and get the girl? I can say only one thing. Go buy this book. Read this book. Laugh and pee your pants. And then go buy someone else a copy. Or in my case, blog and shout it from the rooftops, or hand-sell the hell out of it.

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~ by generationgbooks on October 19, 2013.

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