Audiobook Review: The Rosie Project

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audiobook Review: The Rosie ProjectThe Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Narrator: Dan O'Grady
Length: 7 hrs, 32 mins
Series: Don Tillman #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on October 1, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Humor, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher

An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.

Based on reviews and subject matter, I expected to really enjoy The Rosie Project. However, I don’t think I’m every entirely ready to truly love a book. As The Rosie Project explains, love catches you by surprise. Logically, I might love a book, but on an emotional level still find it completely lacking. The reverse, emotionally loving a book I can logically tell is tremendously flawed also occurs. In The Rosie Project, I’ve found a book that pleases both the logical and emotional centers of my brain.

Professor of Genetics Don Tillman is not like most people. As he says, his brain is wired differently. He lives according to a strict schedule, happily eating the same seven meals in constant rotation. He has difficulties interpreting facial expressions, caring about emotions or understanding why people cry when they watch films. He does not believe in being either early or late to anything, but always being precisely on time. Don’s life is convenient, efficient and consistent. Don Tillman approaches the search for a wife in the same logical, scientific manner as he does everything else.

With the help of his two friends (his only two friends, Gene and Claudia, Don establishes The Wife Project. In essence, the Wife Project works much the same way that Ok Cupid’s algorithms do to predict the degree of compatibility, only the questions are devised only to determine a woman’s compatibility with Don. The questions are intended to suss out women with particular characteristics: non-picky eaters, high aptitude in mathematics, teetotalers to moderate drinkers, non-smokers, skilled cooks, etc. Don wants to settle down but hates the illogical process of dating, and has determined this questionnaire will save him time.

The plot follows predictable romance lines, including misunderstandings, a makeover, and a romantic confession in public. In fact, the tropes are very intentionally applied in a rather fantastic, knowing way. The references to films and novels are perfect and added another layer of joy to the story for me. The romance between Don and Rosie is an opposites attract sort of set up, with her being a complete failure of his test and yet him continually wanting to see her, though he lies to himself and to her about his motivations being merely scientific interest in helping her determine her paternity.

The narrative voice of The Rosie Project is delightful. Simsion highlights perfectly Don’s unique thought processes. Don’s clearly somewhere on the autistic spectrum, albeit high functioning and savant. Simsion makes sure to show both the downsides and benefits to Don’s way of being. Don does change a lot, but it’s never implied that there was something wrong with how he was before. As he was, Don functioned capably, but he was able to embrace more of life and enjoy himself more when he troubled himself to work to increase his empathy. However, so doing was a logical choice and one he made for himself, and the logical and structured aspects of his personality remain unchanged and quite useful.

Honestly, my only issue with The Rosie Project is finding out that there’s going to be a sequel, the prospect of which has put a bit of a taint on my thoughts of this book. View Spoiler » This book was beautiful and complete unto itself. While I’ll do my best to pretend it’s a standalone, I still know it’s not and it affects my mood. Deal with it.

The audiobook format only made The Rosie Project more enjoyable. O’Grady does an impeccable job portraying Don. Plus, an Australian accent is fun to listen to. I will say that O’Grady’s American accent, exhibited when Don visits New York City, is hilaribad, but, since it was all in Don’s first person POV, it fit well with how Don might have related events.

I loved every minute of The Rosie Project, and recommend it heartily to fans of romance or unique first person POVs.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

point of view

8 responses to “Audiobook Review: The Rosie Project”

  1. Stormy says:

    I just read this one over the weekend and WHAT THERE’S GOING TO BE A SEQUEL? Ugh. Of all the books I’ve read, this might be one I want a sequel to the least. Is the sequel information up on Goodreads? I don’t think I saw it when I was updating my progress over the weekend.
    Darn. Now I feel more eh about this, which is too bad because I really loved it. I thought Don’s voice was charming, even when I sometimes cringed when he was making social mistakes. I really liked the emphasis on that while Don changed certain aspects of himself, he wasn’t trying to be someone else entirely, and there was a lot of his original character that stayed the same throughout. It was just a charming story, but now I feel quite sad about the fact there’s a sequel.
    Stormy recently posted…BookTube, Book Blogging, & ThoughtsMy Profile

  2. Lindsey says:

    I never should have told you there was going to be a sequel, Christina. I didn’t mean to ruin it for you! Haha. It’s interesting though, when I first heard about it I just thought, “Oh, I liked the Rosie Project. Why wouldn’t I like a sequel?” However, the more I think about it (and your prediction for the sequel), the more I don’t want it any more either. Maybe we could luck out and it’d be one of those “sequels” that is a totally different story that only sort-of links back to the Rosie Project. Maybe.
    Lindsey recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Goals/Resolutions for 2014My Profile

  3. Jenni says:

    huh I think I could enjoy this one! I have been so curious about it but never actually checked out what it was about. It kind of sounds like a teen movie lol for some reason your review reminded me of She’s All That (must be the makeover and public confession thing.)

    Also, this is what your tweet was about the other day referring to not reading series with unexpected sequels I’m guessing? That’s been annoying me too lately!
    Jenni recently posted…Review: Uninvited by Sophie JordanMy Profile

  4. Savannah says:

    Agh, I am so excited to see a review of this book, simply because it’s currently on sale for Kindle and I bought it literally just this morning! 🙂 Glad to know that you liked it so much; I can’t wait to read it now!

  5. Judith says:

    I’m so happy you loved this! I got it from my indie bookshop a few weeks ago but no one I knew had read it yet, but now I’m glad I got it! I love that the main character is a bit different from other people. He sounds very odd and interesting. I am, however, a bit annoyed that there’s gonna be a sequel, because I’m so tired of every standalone getting turned into a series. It’s. Not. Necessary. But oh well. At least I’m REALLY looking forward to this now!
    Judith recently posted…Ellice Reviews: How to LoveMy Profile

  6. Beautiful review, I haven’t listened to a lot of audiobooks before, but your review really makes me want to give it a go, especially with this book. For an adult book, some of the aspects do seem a little like a teen drama haha!
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare BlakeMy Profile

  7. Donna Cook says:

    Oh I loved The Rosie Project. I didn’t know there’s going to be a sequel, but I’ll try to keep an open mind about it. If I end up hating it, I’ll just pretend the story stops with The Rosie Project. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve dismissed a sequel. 😉

  8. Kayla Beck says:

    I’ve been seeing this book EVERYWHERE, and I’m really thinking about reading it. Maybe I’ll stop being a bitter old prune and listen to it in time for Valentine’s Day.
    Kayla Beck recently posted…Review: Poison Dance by Livie BlackbourneMy Profile

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