THE ROSIE PROJECT, the first book in the adult contemporary romantic comedy series, Don Tillman, by Graeme Simsion.

THE ROSIE PROJECT (Don Tillman Series #1) by Graeme Simsion

5 out of 5 stars

The international bestselling romantic comedy “bursting with warmth, emotional depth, and…humor,” (Entertainment Weekly) featuring the oddly charming, socially challenged genetics professor, Don, as he seeks true love.

The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.

Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her as a candidate for The Wife Project (even if she is “quite intelligent for a barmaid”). But Don is intrigued by Rosie’s own quest to identify her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on The Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie―and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.

Arrestingly endearing and entirely unconventional, Graeme Simsion’s distinctive debut “navigates the choppy waters of adult relationships, both romantic and platonic, with a fresh take (USA TODAY). “Filled with humor and plenty of heart, The Rosie Project is a delightful reminder that all of us, no matter how we’re wired, just want to fit in” (Chicago Tribune).





My Review
My husband read this first and handed his well-worn copy over to me and said, “I think you’ll really like this.” He was not wrong. I absolutely loved it. It has everything I love in a good book: quirky characters, a slow-burn romance, at least one clueless individual, and the street-smart counterbalance to round it all out. This formula works in any genre, but it’s my particular favorite in a romantic comedy. There’s so much opportunity for comedic moments with these ingredients and THE ROSIE PROJECT does not disappoint.

Don Tillman is a professor of genetics at a university in Sydney. He’s socially awkward at best, but more likely, he’s on the autism spectrum. When Don decides he should get married, he approaches it like everything else and creates The Wife Project, to help him find the perfect spouse. Love, obviously, isn’t a requirement. But that gets upended when he meets Rosie through his best friend Gene and helps her with The Father Project. Rosie is seeking her biological father with very little to go on from her late mother. That leads Don to suggesting genetics to get to the root of the problem. With Rosie’s DNA and a list of potential candidates, the two set out on a hilarious adventure that includes many mishaps, such as infamous The Jacket Incident.

The main plot is the relationship between Don and Rosie, but the subplots are such a strong part of the story, it wouldn’t work without them. First there’s The Wife Project. Don creates a scientifically rigorous questionnaire to find his perfect mate. And while Rosie is wholly unsuitable, he cannot deny the spark between them. No matter how hard he tries. Then there’s The Father Project and all the hijinks that go along with attempting to gather DNA from unsuspecting men. There’s also his best friend Gene and his philandering ways. In an open marriage with Claudia, Don’s other BFF, Gene is on a mission to sleep with a woman from every country on the planet. He even has a map in his office with pins, because that’s not gross and creepy. While Don may be oblivious about so many things when it comes to emotions, he senses Claudia pulling away from Gene. She may have signed up for an open marriage, but Don feels she’s no longer a fan. So on top of everything else, he feels he must save his best friends’ marriage.

The characters are so fun. They really make the book work. Without Don’s cluelessness and Rosie’s quirkiness it just wouldn’t be the same story. On a trip to New York to gather some DNA, Don finally finds his people in a group of Yankees fans. He doesn’t make friends easily, but batting averages, game stats, and other numbers associated with the game are his love language, and he ends up developing a real friendship with one fan in particular. This was one of my favorite moments in the book, I loved seeing Don come alive when he was in his element.

1. Don.
Quirks and all, he is one of the most interesting characters I’ve read in a long time. The way he names everything is just the icing on the cake that is Don Tillman.

2. Rosie. She’s funny, zany, whip smart, and puts up with all of Don’s eccentricities, challenging him in the way he needs to be challenged.

3. The Wife Project. The way Don approaches finding a suitable mate is comedy gold.

4. Twists. Even in a comedy, there were plenty of twists. Not least of which were related to The Father Project. Every time I thought I figured out the identity of Rosie’s biological father, I was wrong again.

5. Finding Unexpected Love. Don doesn’t believe he’s even capable of loving someone, so when he realizes he actually does love Rosie, it was one of the most satisfying moments of any romantic comedy.

Bottom Line
A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that exceeded all my expectations.


About the Book
Series: Don Tillman Series #1
Author: Graeme Simsion
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon IT | Amazon FR | Amazon DE | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | GooglePlay


Author Graeme Simsion

Author Graeme Simsion

About the Author
Graeme Simsion is a former IT consultant and the author of two nonfiction books on database design who decided, at the age of fifty, to turn his hand to fiction. His first novel, The Rosie Project, was published in 2013 and translation rights have been sold in forty languages. Movie rights have been optioned to Sony Pictures. The sequels, The Rosie Effect, and The Rosie Result, were also bestsellers, with total sales of the series in excess of five million.

Graeme’s third novel was The Best of Adam Sharp, a story of a love affair re-kindled – and its consequences. Movie rights have been optioned by Vocab Films / New Sparta Films with Toni Collette attached to direct.

Creative Differences was originally created as an ‘Audible Original’ audiobook, but is now in print with a collection of short stories from across Graeme’s career.

Two Steps Forward is a story of renewal set on the Camino de Santiago, written with his wife, Anne Buist, whose own books include Medea’s Curse, Dangerous to Know and This I would Kill for, The Long Shadow and Locked Ward. Movie rights were optioned by Fox Searchlight. A sequel, Two Steps Onward, was published in 2021.Graeme is a frequent presenter of seminars on writing. The Novel Project is his practical, step by step approach to writing a novel or memoir..

Where to find Graeme Simsion
Goodreads | Website | Twitter

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