The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is a novel that I enjoyed, but wasn’t enthusiastic about.
There’s no denying that The Rosie Project is well-written and incredibly unique. It details the life of Professor Don Tillman, a geneticist whose rigid routine is thrown off course when he meets Rosie, a woman looking for her biological father. Don is undeniably a fascinating narrator: his voice is very distinct in that he narrates without emotion and delivers factual details about events devoid of any embellishment or flowery language. He is the same in his interactions with other characters, and he is known for speaking what comes to his mind, without censorship. Reading The Rosie Project was an interesting experience for me because I have never read a novel in such a clipped, concise style, and it was very cool to read about what went on in Don’s highly scientific mind. He has a very different way of looking at the world, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching his structured life get turned on its head by a character as free and liberal as Rosie. The dialogues between Don and Rosie were entertaining in that Rosie’s sarcasm and playful mocking of Don easily comes through to the reader, but is mostly missed by Don. I enjoyed working through their conversations to determine when Rosie is poking fun at Don, but I also felt reassured that Rosie had genuine affection for Don and good intentions. For that reason, it is fun to watch Don become more carefree and spontaneous through Rosie’s prodding and example.
Having said that, while I got through the novel quickly, I never truly felt inspired by it or connected to any of the characters. The narrative of the novel flows very easily (which is surprising considering how scientific it is) and it is a quick read at only just over 300-pages, but I almost felt as though nothing substantial happened in the story at all. It is true that Don’s personality gets overhauled in many ways, and he begins to grapple with and alter his way of viewing the world, but because Don’s narration is so unemotional, it is hard to grasp onto any internal change or reflection. I also am not a fan of the show The Big Bang Theory, or anything like it, and I went into The Rosie Project knowing that Don has been compared to Sheldon Cooper by many readers; this automatically created a disconnect between me and Don, and I did see many similarities between his manner of speaking and Sheldon’s (from the few Big Bang Theory episodes I’ve managed to sit through). Again, credit must be given where it is due because Simsion really does create a narrator unlike any I have ever encountered, but Don’s narrative style and character just wasn’t for me. I’m not even really a fan of Jane Austen’s writing style (I know, it’s awful!) because I find it too straightforward and not emotive enough, so I had a feeling from 20 pages into The Rosie Project that I was never going to fully get into Don’s narration.
Despite all of this, I will repeat that I enjoyed The Rosie Project well enough. I wasn’t dreading reading it by any means, and once I got to around the 200 page mark, I was genuinely interested in how Don and Rosie’s relationship would progress and whether or not they would solve the mystery of Rosie’s biological father’s identity. I just felt sometimes like I wanted to smack Don upside the head and scream at him that he was in love with Rosie; his obliviousness occasionally grated on my nerves in that sense. I would recommend this novel, though, as a quick and simple read that is unique and brings something new to literature as a whole.
❥❥❥ (out of 5)
Girl with a Green Heart