Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Rosie Project | Graeme Simsion


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.

+4 Cover Design

I actually really like this cover. If I saw it on a bookshelf, my eyes would be immediately attracted to it. The covers pops and there's really great contrast between the fonts and the cover. I have to say I really, really like it. 

+4 Writing Style

The writing style was above average, but not spectacular. It didn't hinder me from understanding the storyline but it didn't do anything to enhance my experience either. 

+3 Plot Development

Generally, I'm not much of a rom-com person, and while this book was hilarious, the plot had quite a few holes in it. I'm going to discuss this further in the spoiler-filled discussion but the plot developed almost too conveniently, to the point where it was unbelievable at some points.  

+4 Character Relations

While the relationship between Rosie and Don was fairly predictable, I really enjoyed the relationship between all of the other characters. Gene and his wife had a very interesting relationship that I'm going to explore in the spoiler-filled section. The interactions in this book were what made it a unique storyline. Combining this variety of people with a variety of beliefs, made for an interesting dynamic throughout the novel. 

+2 Character Development

Character development and predictability were the two biggest problems I had throughout this book. The fact that we knew exactly the direction of the character development made the story a lot less exciting. But there was also the fact that the development was a slow incline throughout the majority of the book and a steep increase in the last 20 pages. He literally changed overnight which was completely unbelievable and unrealistic to me. 

+3 Likability of Protagonist

In the case of this particular book, I'm pretty sure the protagonist wasn't supposed to be likable, at least not in the traditional sense. Throughout the entirety of the book I pictured him as Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory and though he didn't have the normal positive characters we typically look for, he wasn't a bad character at all. His lack of social presence gave him a comic edge that most of the other characters didn't have. 

+5 Necessity of Minor Characters

For me, it was the minor characters that made this book. Even those characters that didn't have names were phenomenal. Their interactions and reactions to Don were really entertaining and I feel like I was more invested in those lives and storylines than I was in the main plot. 

+3 Setting Description

I don't have anything exceptional to say about the setting. I could understand and visualize where they were, but it wasn't extraordinary. 

+3 Interesting Storyline

The storyline wasn't uninteresting. I figured going into it that it was a traditional rom-com so I wasn't too surprised at the lack of plot twists. The plot could have been a little more interesting, but it wasn't bad by any means. 

+1  Predictability

This was basically a typical love story: 
Girl meets Boy
Boy and Girl are not compatible 
Girl and Boy hang out a lot together 
Boy and Girl realize they like each other 
Boy and Girl become compatible 

The "science" behind it was interesting but it didn't do too much to detract from the predictability behind the storyline. I will admit I didn't expect the ending at all, but most of that was because I missed a crucial point at the beginning so it was hard to deduce the ending. 

+50 Finished

I actually read this book as the first book in my college's official book club, so it wasn't something I picked up from the Internet. But I have to say I didn't hate it, it's a very cute, relaxing book to read. Definitely something good to read after a hard day at work or school. Going into it I recommend expecting a simple rom-com because other than the comedic scenes, that's really all there is. There are few poignant moments where they briefly touch on the idea of stereotypes, but it's not a central focus of the book. There is a sequel called The Rosie Effect but I honestly probably won't read it simply because I don't feel invested in the characters enough. And this was a good stand-alone novel, I feel like there's nothing more to expand on.

Final Total: 82/100 ; B-

Spoiler-Filled Discussion

The first thing I want to start off discussing is the ending. We find out at the end that Phil (the step-father) is Rosie's real dad and I felt like this was a cop-out answer. First of all, I thought they tested Phil at the beginning and ruled him out since that felt like an obvious thing to do. But apparently Rosie didn't want to associate herself with him or something. There were  a few pages where Don believed that Gene was the father and I think that would have been a much better ending. There would have been more of a conclusion and more to "deal with", which would have been much more interesting. 

The second thing I want to talk about was Gene and Claudia's relationship status. The idea of an open marriage was mildly confusing, especially in their situation. Does Claudia know they have an open marriage? Towards the end she hinted that she wasn't happy with the situation but Gene still made an effort to hide all the other women from her. I just found that situation generally pretty confusing. 

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