Book Review: The Rosie Project

The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1)
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: October 2013
Page Count: 295
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Genre: Adult Fiction

The Rosie Project is something of a publishing phenomenon. It has won a slew of awards and it seems as though everyone is talking about it. I was somewhat late to the party. It had been on my to-read list for months, but it took me until an overseas trip in November to actually pick up a copy. It took another month for me to actually get around to reading, but it was definitely worth the wait. 

 Don Tillman is a professor of genetics at a prestigious Melbourne university. He prides himself on precision and order, so when he decides it would be advantageous to get married, he takes a scientific approach to the problem. He develops a detailed, 16 page questionnaire to ascertain the suitability of the candidates for the position of wife. When Rosie bursts into his office to ask him to settle a bet, his ordered world is turned upside down. She is everything he doesn’t want, but maybe she’s exactly what he needs. 

I loved the setting. Having studied at one of Melbourne’s major universities and worked at the other, this was a very familiar environment and the characters were easily recognisable. Don is a refreshingly different romantic lead. Don and Rosie’s relationship may follow a somewhat predictable path, but it is heartwarming and ultimately uplifting. 

 I did have one issue with the book. I was quite uncomfortable at times with the portrayal of Don. We as readers are aware that he is on the Autistic Spectrum, although Don himself seems unaware of this. He sees life in absolutes and is very uncomfortable when his rigid routine is disrupted. The reader is asked at times to laugh at him, not with him, and it took me a while to get past this. This is the only thing stopping me from giving this book 5 birdies. 

 I did find myself drawn into Don’s story and I desperately wanted him to realise how he felt about Rosie. 

 The Rosie Project is an enjoyable and engaging read for those who enjoy romantic comedy. This is the kind of book that results in a satisfied sigh when you finally close the cover.

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.


  1. I feel like I should hear a 'Le Sigh' somewhere there... lol... I hoped I'd hear rave things in your review, since I too read so many things about the awards and accolades it's received. You have me wanting to know about Don, that's for sure.
    Fantastic review!

    1. Thanks Freda, it really is worth reading, I don't know anyone who hasn't enjoyed it!

  2. This is actually a book I recently bought myself and am looking forward to reading it so much!

  3. Wow. This sounds cool! I really want to read this now! :) Yeah, some portrayals you have to be careful about, but the industry will figure it out and I can't wait to read this!

  4. It's interesting that Don's autistic characteristics are played out in terms of marriage applications. Unique twist on the romance genre, that's for sure!


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