Re-Read: The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion

The novel is narrated by the Don Tillman, an “oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.” Professor Tillman is an eccentric fellow whose life is guided by extreme logic and structure.  His world is thrown into upheaval by Rosie – a feisty women on her own quest to find her biological father.

Rosie Project is ranked as a re-read because:

  • it’s a feel good read –  light-hearted and entertaining. It will have you smiling at the oddities of human nature.
  • the story has that everyday vibe to it. You belive that Don and Rosie could be real people meeting and getting to know each other.
  • in an approachable and entertaining way it highlights where logic and emotions conflict. We can all appreciate why people, and love, are complicated.

What is love? The crux of the story, human relations and that funny thing we call love, are at the forefront of my mind these days. Thus, the story hit a chord with me and reminded me that:

  1. We don’t know what we want – As part of Don’s quest (aka the Wife Project) he develops a survey to find a compatible partner. As he spends and enjoys his time with Rosie,  he comes to realize the flaw in this approach: “it dawned on me that I had not designed the questionnaire to find a woman I could accept, but to find someone who might accept me … Claudia had told me I was being too picky but Rosie has demonstrated in New York that my assessment  of what would make me happy was totally incorrect” (pg 202)
  2. If you really love someone, you have to be prepared to accept them as they are – We’ve all heard this before, however it’s far easier to apply.
    ” ‘Don. I’m impressed, but …. changing to meet someone else’s expectations may not be a good idea. You may end up resenting it.’
    I didn’t think this was likely. I was learning some new protocols [social interaction], that was all.
    ‘If you really love someone,’ Claudia continued, ‘you have to be prepared to accept them as they are. Maybe you hope that one day they get the wake-up call and make the changes for their own reasons’ ” (pg 206)
  3. Love is not logical – “3. An inability (or reduced ability) to empathise is not the same as an inability to love. Love is a powerful feeling for another person, often defying logic.
    4. Rosie had failed numerous criteria on the Wife Project, including the critical smoking question. My feelings for her could not be explained by logic. I did not care about Meryl Streep. But I was in love with Rosie” (pg 236)