Miscellanea, Reviews

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Love conquers all. Or does it?

I’ll further add does love mean never having to say you’re sorry?

Popular culture might have you believe both are true, but naturally I disagree on both counts. Love means always saying you’re sorry. And sometimes love simply isn’t enough. Often even when you can’t forgive someone, you move forward anyway –  not to discount the merits of a good apology. While I was raised to be the quasi-neurotic feminist I’ve become, I was also counseled to marry a rich man over a poor man. Lest you think I kid here, I assure you, I do not (Thanks, Mom!). Despite her half-hearted advice, I’ve never once asked for a fiscal statement before a date. Call me magnanimous. After all, I earned my money the old fashioned way – I inherited it.

Geneticist Professor Don Tillman might not appreciate my irreverent attitude regarding dating requirements. In fact, he is far more specific than I am. In his quest to find the perfect woman to marry him, he creates a questionnaire to filter through potential candidates. Do you drink or smoke? Yes? Unsuitable. Have you ever been late or do you wear make-up? Yes? Unsuitable. Can you cook or calculate your body mass index in your head ? No? Unsuitable. Is said calculated body mass index below 25 and do you exercise frequently? No? Unsuitable. In the 304 responses he receives from his questionnaire, not one suitable candidate is found, but Don is convinced (statistically) that there is someone for everyone. In walks Rosie Jarman who, on a quest of her own to find her biological father, enlists the help of Don. She is completely wrong for him, she is a feisty, quirky barmaid who smokes, drinks, swears, and is perpetually late and – worse yet – a vegetarian. But over the course of the novel, Don realizes that there is no magic formula for love.

The Rosie Project

Did you just picture me roll my eyes a little bit? Because I did. Don’t get me wrong, The Rosie Project is adorable and I enjoyed it the same way one enjoys Notting Hill. It is clearly destined to be a film and a quick search will tell you that this is indeed true (the rights were bought by Sony). In fact, the author originally wrote The Rosie Project as a screenplay. However, to get it sold, he turned it into a novel. It’s the story of Don who, while it’s not confirmed in the story, is assumed to have Asperger syndrome. He often lacks the ability to interpret social cues and has a number of eccentricities that deviate from constructed social norms. He is also a highly intelligent, successful genetics professor with good friends. Because it presents life with Asperger syndrome in somewhat of a glossy, clichéd light, I missed some of the joy the novel clearly exudes.

All is not lost though. Don is a charming, lovable hero that you can’t help but root for. He may be looking for love in all the wrong places (i.e. the logical ones), but he is smart enough to recognize it when it comes his way. Rosie, although a bit of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl (with depth), is likable enough because she is a beautiful, quirky force of nature who teaches Don that he is capable of loving another and living life to the fullest. My eye-rolling aside, I think ‘The Rosie Project’ is a sweet, charming romantic comedy novel that has broad appeal. The moral of the story is that there is no right way to find love (and it certainly can’t be done with a survey*) and I can’t argue with that. I’ll be recommending this one to quite a few people, as it’s easy to love (even if that’s not the first reaction I had). 3.5/5.

I like to ask questions at the end of my reviews to facilitate discussion. This time I’ve got nothing. Dare I ask about dating preferences? I’ve always dated an opposite personality, it seems to balance things. Any other thoughts are always appreciated.

*Oh wait, someone actually did this. Color me impressed.

Coal Fired Pizza

While visiting New York, Don and Rosie indulge in coal-fired pizza from Arturo’s. I rarely miss an opportunity to recommend pizza (now is no exception), but this is a variant of my normal recommendation – as in you can’t make it yourself. Not unless you own a coal-fired pizza oven, in which case I’m moving in. Until then, for fellow Colorado residents, try Marco’s (image from Marco’s) on Larimer.

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