Don is a professor of genetics whose life follows a very structured routine – he gets up at the same time every day, shops at the same markets, eats the same meals and goes to bed at the same time. Everything in his life makes sense. Everything is rational.
Until he meets Rosie.
Rosie the red-headed barmaid is everything Don isn’t looking for in a woman. She smokes. She swears. She only eats ethical seafood. But despite all of this, Don decides to use his expertise in genetics to help Rosie look for her biological father. The Rosie Project is born.
What begins as a good deed on Don’s part ends up changing not only his routine, but the way he looks at the world – and Rosie. Before long he realizes that, much to his surprise and despite the myriad reasons not to, he enjoys her company. And that’s when things start to get really complicated.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I have to admit that the cover was what drew me in and piqued my curiosity. But once I got a bit of the way in, I realized I was enjoying it immensely.
I loved the main character – and as someone who’s fascinated by different cultural and social perspectives, the experience of seeing the world through his eyes was incredible. I also enjoyed getting to know the other characters; how flawed and human they all were, yet somehow beautiful and loveable. The story itself progressed well for about the first 3/4 of the book, and I was completely enthralled by it.
As I got towards the end of the book, however, I started to feel a bit put off by how the main character was changing. Which isn’t to say people can’t change, but for someone who has a behavioural situation like Don’s (who I believe has Asperger’s, though they never really state it definitively), seemed a bit too extreme. The magic of the book, for me, lies in the characters’ imperfections, how they learned to love those imperfections in one another, and how they learned to deal with the imperfect nature of life itself. I didn’t want them to change, and I didn’t want every storyline tied up in a neat bow.
That said, however, I have absolutely no regrets at having read this book. I think it’s definitely worth it just to meet Don and Rosie and to live in their world for awhile. It’s not my new favourite book, but it’s sweet and I enjoyed (most of) it.