Book Review: The Rosie Project

When I sat down to write this review, I thought I’d be spruiking the feel-good novel of the year while sharing around some good ol’ RMIT pride and claim on past student Graeme Simsion’s debut novel. Turns out that not only is The Rosie Project amazing, Simsion himself is an ‘Alien of Extraordinary Abilities’, holding an O-1 visa to the United States – something usually only awarded to Nobel Prize Winners.

Graeme Simsion once ran a conference dressed as a

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duck, has encouraged accountants to sing and was led by his love of wine to establish a business called “Pinot Now”. His wife is a psychiatrist and writes erotic fiction; he, on the other hand, writes database textbooks and edits erotic novellas. Once upon a time, he also failed his feature film class at RMIT (an obvious catalyst for his underachieving lifestyle).

How all of this turned into Don Tillman’s romantic-comedy quest to find a wife, I do not know; but I’m glad it did.

Simsion’s book, The Rosie Project, is guaranteed to have you smiling. It’s the narration of Don’s quest to find a wife – he knows he’s getting married, but to whom? To alleviate this unbearable variable in his life, Don has designed the ‘Wife Project’, a 16-page questionnaire employed to eliminate unsuitable candidates: smokers, heavy drinkers, barmaids, women who cannot estimate their BMI accurately, the tardy and those who don’t like apricot ice-cream.

Rosie fails on all counts. But she is also beautiful, passionate, impulsive and in the midst of a search

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for her biological father – a task that genetics professor Don Tillman is happy to help with.

The Rosie Project is the most delightful and unconventional love story of 2013. It’s as intelligent as it is romantic; and, as much as the title makes the ending obvious, it’s – to use a cliché that we all know and love – the journey that counts.

Well done, Simsion, on having written such a wonderfully endearing novel.

Kudos also to RMIT for being hipster enough to see the potential in Graeme before he won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Best Unpublished Manuscript, before he received a deal with Text Publishing and before his novel sold its rights to over 30 countries around the world.

I highly recommend that you get out of your mid-semester slump and read this book.

Emily Westmoreland

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