The Rosie Project – A List For Finding True Love

Book Review : The Rosie Project
Don Tillman #1

By Graeme Simsion

Spoiler Alert!



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.  (Courtesy of

Adult Point of View

To sum up The Rosie Project it would be best to make a list in honor of Don, the list master. Next, I would need to make a questionaire and a full project, collecting data and screening sources to use. However, since I’m not Don…..

I believe I laughed over every single page in The Rosie Project. Is it funnier because I have people in my family on the autism spectrum? I remember reading that Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks wife, wondered if the play My Big Fat Greek Wedding was only funny to Greeks, or did everyone find it to be funny (and, it became a loved movie produced by Tom Hanks). The Rosie Project is like the movie, in that, everyone can find the humor in it because we all want to find love, sometimes we are all socially awkward and sometimes we really don’t know what we want.

Here are a few of the funny moments (out of context I don’t know if they seem funny):

     “Rosie had moved on and was now examining my CD collection. The investigation was becoming annoying. Dinner was already late.
‘You really love Back,’ she said. This was a reasonable deduction, as my CD collection consists only of the works of that composer. But it was not correct.
‘I decided to focus on Back after reading Godel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter. Unfortunately I haven’t made much progress. I don’t think my brain works fast enough to decode the patterns in the music.’
‘You don’t listen to it for fun?’
This was beginning to sound like the initial dinner conversation with Daphne and I didn’t answer.” (p. 49)

“‘No assistance is required,’ I said. ‘I recommend reading a book.’
I watched Rosie walk to the bookshelf, briefly peruse the contents, then walk away. Perhaps she used IBM rather than Apple software, although many of the manuals applied to both.” (p. 50)

I love the understated humor. More quotes:

     “Now I had ten days to learn to dance.
Gene entered my office as I was practicing my dance steps.
‘I think the longevity statistics were based on marriages to live women, Don.’
He was referring to the skeleton I was using for practice. I had obtained it on loan from the Anatomy Department, and no one had asked what I required it for.” (p. 131-132)

“As we drank champagne in the lounge, I explained that I had earned special privileges by being particularly vigilant and observant of rules and procedures on previous flights, and by making a substantial number of helpful suggestions regarding check-in procedures, flight scheduling, pilot training, and ways in which security systems might be subverted. I was no longer expect to offer advice, having contributed ‘enough for a lifetime of flying.'” (p. 179)


Here is the quote with a little spoiler in it:

     “So, to add to a momentous day, I corrected a misconception that my family had held for at least fifteen years and came out to them as straight.” (p. 275)

Here is my final problem in reviewing this book. I can’t actually recommend it to any of my friends because Rosie’s language is crude and she throws out the F-bomb with some regularity. There’s not explicit sex in the book, but sex is discussed frequently. It was the funniest book I have read in a long time and thoroughly enjoyed it.

By language it would get two stars. By humorous content 5 stars. So I’m rounding that out to 4 stars since I’ve disclosed the items that would disturb some audiences.

4  out of 5 stars

4 star

  • the Mother

If you have enjoyed Rosie try the 44 Scotland Street novels by Alexander McCall Smith. Though a completely different genre, you could also try Date Night On Union Station by E. M. Foner, it is extremely funny.

About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow-cooked in a tagine. I write stories and illustrate in ink.
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