Book Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Blurb

Love isn’t an exact science – but no one told Don Tillman.

A handsome thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, Don’s never had a second date. So he devises The Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner. Enter Rosie – ‘the world’s most incompatible woman’ – throwing Don’s safe, ordered life into chaos. Just what is this unsettling, alien emotion he’s feeling?


The Rosie Project is a book about one man’s quest to find a suitable bride. Don Tillman is the perfect guy, according to himself. He is organized, logical, unattached, unemotional, and intelligent. Don is a professor of genetics at a university in Melbourne. He has but two friends in the whole world – Gene, his colleague and Claudia, a psychologist and Gene’s wife.

Don’s inability to hold a sociable conversation with women (or anyone, for that matter) has left him single at 39. Gene and Claudia try their best to help Don find a compatible partner, but their efforts aren’t rewarded with a match. Don, therefore, devises ‘The Wife Project’, a detailed questionnaire that will help him find his perfect woman. You can find Don’s questionnaire for the Wife Project at the end of the book.

Enter Rosie Jarman. A woman who is Don’s exact opposite. When she enters his life, everything goes haywire. She is everything he doesn’t want in a wife. He dislikes her habits at first but later begins to realize he actually enjoys them and, most of all, her company.

If you’ve watched ‘The Big Bang Theory’ you will immediately picture Don Tillman as Sheldon Cooper. Don has the same quirks and eccentricities as Sheldon. He thinks from the head and not from the heart. He does have a soft side, though. His interactions with his neighbour Daphne are quite sweet and make him seem almost human. Don’s funniest quality is his evaluation of people he meets for the first time. He analyses their BMI, thanks in no small part to his ongoing Wife Project. I especially liked his use of numbers – to describe distance, days, time, physique, and anything measurable. It’s not a few days; it’s ninety-three days. It’s not 4:30-ish; it’s 4:28 PM. Nothing is approximate with Don; it’s always exact.

Rosie is not your typical leading lady. She has a mind of her own. At times, she seems crazier than Don. Her quest to find out who her biological father, named as ‘The Father Project’ by Don, forms the basis of their blossoming love story. I did enjoy her independence and attitude. She doesn’t take any nonsense from Don and doesn’t want him to change either. She, to use a romantic cliché, “accepts him for who he is.” Nowhere does she ask him to change his habits and that’s what makes her a commendable character.

Secondary characters are well thought out and are not added to simply fill the pages. They all influence Don and Rosie in making decisions about their relationship. The narrative is engaging. You rarely get bored from any chapter or page. In fact, I was so into it that I read almost half the book in one night. The end, however, is more like a movie and could have been tweaked a bit.

The story begins with the Wife Project, continues as the Father Project, and ends as the Rosie Project. In conclusion, The Rosie Project is a humorous look at the relationship between two people who are polar opposites of each other. It’s a satisfying, hilarious, and charming romantic comedy.

NOTE: This review was first published on my previous blog, noinpart.

3 Things I Loved About This Book

  • The nerdy main character. He is absolutely charming and his antics will make you laugh throughout the book.
  • The fact that the main character is in his late 30s. A lot of popular books focus on teenage or early-20s protagonists and this book defeats that norm. 
  • Got me out of my reading slump. 

What Could Have Been Better?

The ending could have been more novelesque than movie-like. 

My Story With This Book

I read a listicle in Buzzfeed which mentioned The Rosie Project as the book to read if you loved The Big Bang Theory. Since I used to be a fan of the show, I thought I’ll give it a try.  I’m glad finished this book (in 2017) because I realized reading is so therapeutic. Not that I didn’t know it before. But I had forgotten it due to all the negativity surrounding me at the time. It got me out of my depression and added a bit of positivity in my life. It was also the first book I finished that year. So, another reason to be happy.

My Rating (?)

That was good.

The Technical Stuff

  • Title: The Rosie Project
  • Author: Graeme Simsion
  • Format: Paperback
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance, Humour
  • Pages: 327
  • Publisher: Penguin UK
  • Edition/Copyright: 2013
  • ISBN: 978-1-405-91279-2 | 978-1-405-91533-5
  • Average reading time: 3 hours and 55 minutes. (How Long to Read?)
  • Goodreads rating: 4.02 (Goodreads)

Buying Options

Amazon | Flipkart | Your friendly neighbourhood bookstore

Questions For You

  • Have you read The Rosie Project? If yes, did you enjoy it? Share your thoughts.
  • Have you read any similar books (with protagonists in their late 30s)? Did you like them? 


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I read books and sleep all day. I also work. Sometimes.

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