* CONTAINS SPOILERS
Professor Don Tillman is probably one of the most excessively structured characters you will ever meet, living day-to-day by a rigid schedule for the maximum efficient use of his time. However, as intelligent as Don is, he is hopeless in social situations and unable to make friends or find love. His best friends, a fellow professor and psychologist in an open marriage, encourage Don’s search for a partner through his “Wife Project”, where potential mates complete a questionnaire and are eliminated when compared to Don’s strict parameters. This is when Don meets Rosie, a PHD student who is as fiery in personality as her red hair. She smokes, drinks, doesn’t cook or meet any of Don’s other criteria. Yet, Don finds himself on a first “date” with Rosie where she introduces Don to her quest to discover her biological father. As a geneticist, Don is intrigued by the challenge and offers to provide his assistance, meanwhile wrestling with the intriguing feelings that arise as he spends more and more time with the “imperfect” Rosie.
The Rosie Project has been a hit and on the bestseller list forever with good reason. The book is upbeat, funny and has two engrossing plots, yet is not overly formulaic as a romantic comedy. I liked both main characters and particularly liked that Don’s fish-out-of-water scenarios were resolved in creatively humourous ways.
The Rosie Project is a cute book, but sometimes a little too cute and silly with Don acting like a cross between Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation (completely ignorant of acceptable human behaviour) and A.J. Fikry from The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (irritable, blunt). However, his character has many layers to discover in the story and all this can be forgiven.
Overall, The Rosie Project is a romantic story about opposites attracting and finding love. Even though I wasn’t completely enchanted with the book, I was still cheering for Don and Rosie to get together. Since Graeme Simsion originally wrote the story as a screenplay, surely The Rosie Project will grace our screens in the next year or two with enthusiastic endorsements, such as “feel-good movie of the year” and “warms the cockles of your heart” (whatever cockles are supposed to be). Now we just have to wait and place bets on who will play the main characters.