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MisterHobgoblin

The Rosie Project

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Does anyone remember Mr Logic in Viz magazine? If so, you'll be delighted to know that he is alive and well, apparently working as an associate professor of genetics at the University of Melbourne. Associate Professor Don Tillman seems to be able to look after himself with an impressive set of recipes, an addiction to martial arts and a fascination with body mass index scores. He lives his life to a rigid timetable, plotted out to the nearest minute. He is well on his way to understanding people in a very mechanical sense, yet he seems to have no idea how people work in an emotional sense. Hence, we have a strong first person narrative of a man who blunders from one misunderstanding to the next.

Associate Professor Tillman (may we call him Don?) only has two living friends in the world - his colleague Gene and Gene's wife Claudia. Gene has decided that Don needs a wife and sets about helping him find one - using only the best science, of course. And Gene is the ideal man to guide Don into this new and mysterious world since he is so successful with women himself.

What follows is relatively derivative - shades of Curious Incident, shades of Crocodile Dundee, shades of Breakfast Club. But this is nevertheless sustained by the constantly amusing narrative voice as Don essentially embarks on a coming of age journey. There are knowing digs at the pomposity of academia - The University Club comes off looking like the expensive cafeteria it really is; the hypocrisy of "upholding" standards whilst selling your soul for the next research grant; the inherent sexism. There are delusions of grandeur on the Melbourne dining scene; digs at know-nothing wine waiters; and a pretty healthy disrespect for doctors. Let's hope Graeme Simsion remains healthy for a goo long time.

And the ending, when it comes, is genuinely lovely.

For a first novel, The Rosie Project is really impressive. It is amusing, pacey and surprisingly insightful. Please do give it a go.

*****

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The Rosie Project was a most welcome present but  I smiled my way through it far too quickly. Don Tillman is such a likeable, unusual character I really did not want his story  to end.  This is the perfect book to read on holiday or at any time when you are able to keep on reading without interruption.

 

Mr HG's review sums this lovely book up perfectly and I gladly endorse his request to give it a go.

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I've just finished this and I enjoyed it hugely.

Early on, the narrative voice irritated me, but then it became more complex and subtle.

 

Just one thing: I found the ending confusing and found it hard to work out

 

who Rosie's father turns out to be. It was so opaque at the end. I found it hard to keep all the potential characters in my head and didn't get what was inferred.

 

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Started this yesterday morning and spent the whole day reading it while home from work. I just couldn't put it down. Don's bewilderment and attempts to learn how to fit in with the world were so funny and poignant at the same time.  

 

Regarding Minxminnie's spoiler comment:

 

 

Phil, who Rosie thought was her stepfather, was her biological father. Don tested the shirt with Phil's blood on it from when he broke Phil's nose and Phil bled on the shirt.

 

Edited by Kerry

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This is a quirky, fun read that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Right from the start I was rooting for Don and I loved the way the author used Don's detatched logic to reveal things about the other characters in the book, especially his womanising friend Gene.  I agree with MM that the end did rather trip over itself in its rush to tie up all the ends but that's a very minor point, I was just glad that there were no unresolved issues.

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Finished this recently and enjoyed very much. A book that makes you smile :D

 

What I found amazing was the interest shown by women for this book. Written by a man with a male main character and certainly not of the hunky sophisticated etc type.Yet women recommended the book to me after reading glowing reviews in many women magazines.

Maybe women have a soft spot for the nerdy compulsive male :dunno:

Edited by Clavain

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I think you're right Clavain, we can't resist someone who needs looking after...!  Well, maybe.  In real life, I run a mile from anyone needy.  A good part of the success of the book for me was that Rosie seemed to be attracted to and exasperated by the same aspects of Don's personality as I was.  For example, his unquestioning acceptance of his friend's project to sleep with women of as many nationalities as possible was entirely logical and honest, but the inability to see that this project might not have been something that his friend might was to share with everyone could cause...problems that Don couldn't perceive.

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Maybe women have a soft spot for the nerdy compulsive male :dunno:

 

I'm glad at least one did. I'd probably still be single otherwise.

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I am currently reading this and for the first time in a while I am looking forward to bedtime to get stuck back in. It is an extremely enjoyable and accomplished read. Don is absolutely fantastic and his logic is quite brilliant. I am also impressed that rather than be the obvious, quirky other, Rosie is complex, fleshed out and plausible.

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I am enjoying a good run of novels just now and this book was definitely a highlight. I found it funny, well-observed and extremely touching. Don was a brilliant character and to have a mystery bring him and Rosie together and continue to be part of the story was incredibly enjoyable. Loved it.

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Just finished this book as a library RG read.  I just could not put this down.  Loved the light hand the author has with Don's character, which could be a form of Asperger's but is better explained in the book as 'wired atypically'.  Having family members of this kind I empathised quickly with his character. 

 

It's hard to pick a moment in the book that stands out as special, because there are so many, but for me the trip to New York with Rose taking over the excursions for two days illustrated just how Don began to see a chink in his rigid schedule could change his whole life. 

 

This book was pure delight. 

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It's hard to pick a moment in the book that stands out as special, because there are so many, but for me the trip to New York with Rose taking over the excursions for two days illustrated just how Don began to see a chink in his rigid schedule could change his whole life. 

 

This book was pure delight. 

 

Me too BB, I loved the NY trip and how his carefully organised plans were quickly discarded and he found himself enjoying it.

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How lovely to have a light, 'easy read' that reads well. So often humorous books are not 'easy reads', but frustrating reads, because the writing doesn’t flow or the plot is too simple. The Rosie Project was just what I needed and I didn’t want to put it down. The words flowed simply and smoothly and even though I predicted the ending, I still wanted to read on to see how the writer resolved everything.

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I have just finished The Rosie Project having read it in a few days as like everyone else I was unable to put it down. I actually bought the book due to the reviews of other BGO members. As everyone had raved about this novel I felt that they could not all be wrong! How right I was! This book came as a real welcome relief after reading a number of fairly involved books back to back.

 

I loved Don, the main character, although as MM stated his narrative did irritate me a little at the beginning and I did wonder at that stage if I was going to take to him at all. However as the book goes on the reader begins to realize that Don's character is a little more complex than first thought. As BB has stated it is sugessted in number of places in the book that Don could be suffering from either Aspergers or Bipolar-disorder and earlier in life he has had to seek medical advice. Suggestions are also made regarding problems with bullying at school and depression at uni. As Jen has stated once such problems are mentioned Don becomes a leading man that all women are likely to take to!

 

Like MM I found parts of the ending of the novel a little muddled. Although like most people I guessed the outcome of The Father Project I found parts of the workings of the project a bit difficult to follow. However this was a minor problem compared with my overall enjoyment of a delightful book. This certainly one that I will be recommending to RG!

Edited by cherrypie

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At our discussion on this book at the library this week, every member of our group raved about it.  We had a member of the library staff with us (she is the wonderful lady who finds us multiple copies of books to read) and she was so intrigued by our discussion that she took a copy of the book home with her.  As she said, she could not remember a time when every one of us was so enthusiastic about a book.

 

As an aside, we looked Graeme Simsion up on the internet and apart from some non-fiction work, this seems to be his only novel.  Shame.  We had all hoped there would be more of his work we could devour.

 

Also, the cover on our copies was totally unlike that illustrated at the top by MrHG.  Our book was a white cover with a red lobster in the centre of the front.  Not sure which of the two is best, since they both have a part to play in the novel, but we found the lobster intriguing and a good choice of illustration.

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This book begs discussion :) Barblue and megustaleer I sooo much envy you both. I found BGO searching for a local reading group. No regrets but face to face discussing books must be heaven. Then the gossip grand children etc :)

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This book begs discussion :) Barblue and megustaleer I sooo much envy you both. I found BGO searching for a local reading group. No regrets but face to face discussing books must be heaven. Then the gossip grand children etc :)

I did it the other way around Clavain. Tried a couple of local book groups but found with, one at least, that little time was spent discussing the monthly read. Most of the time at each meeting was taken up with discussions of various members social life. Not for me I am afraid. I think that you have to be lucky with the group you join.

 

My second experience was more positive but apart from one other member the others were a lot younger than myself and all friends. Not a problem as I fit in quite easily but again not really what I was looking for. I also like the fact that on BGO you can comment on a book as you go along, not possible with a local group. Quite often the local book groups only meet once a month and if you read a lot, as I do, it is not always easy to time the reading of the monthly read appropriately.

 

I do wonder what sort of a book group meeting The Rosie Project would produce. Quite a lively one I suspect. I do wonder however as everyone seems to have loved it whether a discussion would be a bit one sided.

Edited by cherrypie

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Our library RG meets once a week, so we could and often do, discuss books as we go along.  That can be problematic if not everyone has been able to read the number of pages allotted for that week.  However, we somehow manage this.

 

I would agree with you CP, that often when everyone likes a book there is not a lot of in depth discussion.  As far as the Rosie Project was concerned, however, almost everyone read it in a week because, as can be seen by most of the comments here, it is a book you just cannot put down once you start it and get used to Don's 'atypically wired' ways.  But in fact, there was a lot of discussion about different parts of the books story, the characters in the book and the experiences that Don had.  Many of us liked the idea of the questionnaire and discussed the questions noted in the novel.  Don's friend Gene came in for quite a bit of discussion too, as did his poor suffering wife.  There was also questioning discussion about the processes Don used for the 'Father Project'.  And last but not least, there was a lot of discussion about Asperger's,.  We have retired teachers in our group, as well as parents and grandparents.  I have personal experience of this syndrome in my family, so I was able to empathise with Don quite quickly, which made my reading of the book somewhat different to those in the group who had no personal experience of anyone with this personality type.  Everyone was therefore able to add to the discussions, and to take something away from it.  One member of our group has decided that according to Don's questionnaire, she would have been his perfect wife!!

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Downloaded The Rosie Project and am 7% into the book and have to say that so far I'm finding the nit picking ways of Dan just annoying - will put it aside for the moment as it seems just about everyone else really liked it so am wondering why it isn't having the same effect with me???

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Downloaded The Rosie Project and am 7% into the book and have to say that so far I'm finding the nit picking ways of Dan just annoying - will put it aside for the moment as it seems just about everyone else really liked it so am wondering why it isn't having the same effect with me???

I found it a little odd to start with Momac so you are not alone there however I did plod on and found that I got used to Dan and really came to like him. He is odd but that is the crux of the book and eventually I found his oddities quite endearing especially as it appears that there is a reason for them.

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Hmmm! I think I'll leave it be for a while - maybe come back to it.

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Downloaded The Rosie Project and am 7% into the book and have to say that so far I'm finding the nit picking ways of Dan just annoying - will put it aside for the moment as it seems just about everyone else really liked it so am wondering why it isn't having the same effect with me???

I know exactly what you mean momac and I'm one of the few males who have posted on this thread. :)

The book is not "chick lit" but predominately females seem to love it. Why?

Edited by Clavain

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Thanks Clavain, will think on it some more, maybe I need to be in more tolerant mood! :)

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Went back to The Rosie Project and am seeing the offbeat humour in it - the scene outside the restaurant for his first date with Rosie had me chuckling - it must be really strange to deal with someone who is so literally minded and, as he says, "I don't do subtle".

 

Different day - different mood. :)

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Went back to The Rosie Project and am seeing the offbeat humour in it - the scene outside the restaurant for his first date with Rosie had me chuckling - it must be really strange to deal with someone who is so literally minded and, as he says, "I don't do subtle".

 

Different day - different mood. :)

 

I'm glad you have started to enjoy it, momac. I felt bad that I had recommended it to you. I assumed from the beginning that Don had Asperger's or some kind of autism, and knowing some people like that, I didn't find his quirks irritating.

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