The Rosie Project: The Wonderful Summer Read

The Rosie Project is the book for you this summer.

The Rosie Project is the book for you this summer. That is a bold statement, I know, as there are millions of books out there that claim to be the ultimate summer read so how can I possibly say this?

I’ll admit, I have not read millions of books (although my obsession with reading probably means I’m quite close), so there’s a possibility that I’m wrong. However, I simply loved it so much that I had to start with that. If you do read it, I have to dare you not to like it. It simply won’t be possible and so I’ll stand by my earlier claim: this is the book for you to read this summer.

A summer book has to deliver certain aspects. There will be some people who only enjoy heavier literature, Tolstoy, Dickens or Dostoyevsky and others who are content with Twilight or the Shopaholic series (quick side note, the newest Shopaholic book is out in September, very exciting!), and I’d say I am somewhere in between.

Not an ordinary summer novel

My suitcase will have both Wuthering Heights and one of Cecelia Ahern’s books. Whether you’re on the Dickens end of the spectrum or the Helen Fielding end it is almost irrelevant, The Rosie Project is universal. The novel delivers on everything: humour, a strong plot and a range of characters: comedy is interwoven with more serious themes and, as a result, it is a quick and uncomplicated read which is still intellectually stimulating.

Whilst it could quite accurately be called a novels which falls in the genre of chick lit, the dimension added by having it narrated by Don Tillman who has Asperger’s Syndrome means it appeals to this who want a book which is more unusual and provides an alternative perspective. However, I did say “almost irrelevant” and that’s because I can’t quite say it is akin to something like Great Expectations or Lord Jim.

If that’s what you’re after then perhaps you won’t be a fan of The Rosie Project. However, I’d hope that even if you do prefer classics like these you are still open minded enough to appreciate different genres, in which case, I can’t recommend Graeme Simsion’s work enough.

The novel follows the enigmatic Professor Don Tillman who has Asperger’s syndrome but is undiagnosed. He follows the Standardised Meal Plan because it has eight major advantages, including efficient shopping, zero waste and the minimal cognitive load required. However, it is the opening to the novel which assures you this is a must-read: “I may have found a solution to the Wife Problem.”

The novel follows Don’s attempts to find a wife because it has come to his attention that married men live longer and are happier. He has devised a questionnaire to seek out the perfect woman but is derailed when he meets Rosie and is distracted by her attempts to find her father (the Father Project). Along the way, however, various mishaps due to Don’s nature as a result of Asperger’s syndrome occur which leads to results which are both hilarious and disastrous in equal measure.

Thoughtful literature

Despite the hilarity that ensues there is a more serious message which questions social conventions and the way we judge people because they do not strictly adhere to what is considered “normal.” In fact, Don has a point when he questions the security at Le Gavroche when they refuse to let him in because his jacket is not deemed “formal” enough.

He brilliantly lists why his Gore-Tex jacket is superior to a dinner jacket: “The high technology garment that had protected me in the rain and snowstorms, was being irrationally, unfairly and obstructively contrasted with the official’s essentially decorative woolen equivalent.”

He then goes on to list advantages of his jacket which includes a demonstration of its tensile strength by tearing the restaurant employee’s lapel.

This perfectly encapsulated the novel as a whole, no doubt a comical scenario but also provides food for thought with regard to the strange social norms and conventions that everyone seems to abide by without a second thought.

So, why must you read it this summer? It’s the perfect beach read because you can whiz through it in a few days due to the accessible and uncomplicated style. If you worry it’s not quite up to your standards because you only read “serious literature” (if you are one of these, you should probably try and be a bit less boring – just a thought) then it’s quite easy to pick it apart and pull out a more serious message, namely the impact of social convention and the soft, unspoken rules that we live by choice, as well as whether one should be required to change for love.

A definite five out of five stars from me and I really hope I can expect more of the same from Graeme Simsion’s work in the future!

What do you think? Have you read The Rosie Project? Have your say in the comments section below.