THE ROSIE PROJECT, by Graeme Simsion [2013]


R. Tim Morris’ Rating: 4/10

I’ve been trying to really nail down what it was exactly that bothered me about this book. And I think I finally got it: The Rosie Project is pretty boring. Sorry if this offends the many, many, many (God, so many!) of you who fell in love with it. But not enough really happens in this story to justify 300+ pages. And it’s certainly not a page-turner. Sure, our “hero” meets a girl he knows is not “right” for him but can’t help falling her anyway. And yes, Don does help Rosie along in finding out who her father is, but THAT’S THE BOOK. There’s plenty of dramatic scenes, silly scenes and comedic dialogue to make it seem like there’s something great going on here, but it’s all just really boring.
To me, it felt like Graeme Simsion was fairly knowledgeable on subjects such as autism/Asperger’s, mixing drinks, ballroom dancing, genetics and DNA testing, but most of these topics are written like he’s TELLING us, rather than the classic writer’s rule of SHOWING. Honestly, the dancing and drink mixing scenes made me want to stop reading and made me feel sorry for all of the reviewers who ga-ga’d all over this book.
I guess we’re meant to assume that Don has Asperger’s but he doesn’t seem aware of the fact himself. This is probably fairly common in the real world, but for a guy who gives lectures on the subject, it comes across as more than a little ridiculous. Also, Don grows for the purpose of growing and having a fluffy ending. I’m no expert on autism, but I don’t believe a change so drastic could come so quickly. It almost dismisses the idea that this character has lived with his condition for his entire life.
For a guy who is so strict on schedules and planning his days Don sure spends a lot of time on the so-called “Father Project”. I mean, what is he doing at his job all day? I have no idea. Simsion does a good job at the beginning of the book to get us into the head of his main character, but somewhere along the way Don stops being the same character I was introduced to.
I’ll give The Rosie Project 4-Stars based on the fact it’s not complete trash and there are some really good character moments and dialogue exchanges. But it makes me sad for the literary world that there is actually a sequel to this.

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