The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is a comedy about brain wiring, evidence-based investigation, and finding love. And it is funny. One of the most entertaining books I’ve read all year. That it combines humour with a touch of neuroscience makes it the perfect book for The Walking Book Club.
The Rosie Project is described as a …
hilarious, feel-good novel narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.
Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand and whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and so he embarks upon ‘The Wife Project’.
In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. His 16-page questionnaire to find the perfect woman systematically eliminates non-suitable partners. “The vegans, the sports watchers, the creationists, the smokers, the scientifically illiterate, the homeopaths …” If you are a fan of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, Don Tillman will rapidly find a place in your heart.
Granted, there is plenty of debate about the portrayal of the autism spectrum in the book – but that just makes it all the more interesting for those of us interested in neuroscience!
The Rosie Project won the 2012 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript, and was published in January 2013. Fingers crossed you can get hold of a copy of this very popular new novel!
About the author…
Graeme Simsion describes himself …
a writer of screenplays, short stories, novels and a couple of short plays. An occasional producer of films. Formerly an IT specialist (data modeling) and founder of a business and IT consultancy. Husband of Anne Buist and father of two. And resident in Fitzroy (Melbourne) Australia. And I once gave a conference presentation dressed as a duck. And for good reason, really (I wanted to attract people to a dry topic). But it was a long time ago.
You can find about more about Graeme Simsion on his website.
Update… Walking Book Club questions for discussion..
One of the main criticisms of The Rosie Project is that it trivialises mental health issues. Stigma and misunderstanding surrounding mental health stops people asking for help and getting the treatment and support they need.
For something a little different, before you hit the road with your Walking Book Club, watch this video: http://www.sane.org/projects/say-no-to-stigma
- Discuss your thoughts about the video as you set out on your walk.
- Don goes through a number of spectacularly bad dates. Think back (go on, have a giggle) and recall some of your own dating nightmares!
- Where do you fall on the spectrum between structure and chaos in life? As the book progresses, Don relaxes his rigid standards. Talk about a time in your life when you’ve had to relax your standards, expectations or change your routines for someone else.
- Do you agree with Don’s assessment that “humans often fail to see what is close to them and obvious to others”?
- What do you think of Gene and Claudia’s relationship? Do you think open marriages work?
- Don says that the happiest day of his life was spent at the Museum of Natural History. Discuss the happiest day of your life.
- As Don’s affection for Rosie grows, he becomes aware of his instincts overriding reason. What is the role of instinct versus reason when it comes to choosing a life partner?
- Don watches a number of movies to try to learn about romance, including When Harry Met Sally, The Bridges of Madison County, An Affair to Remember, and Hitch. What are your top five romantic movies?
- Don has a 16-page checklist for his ideal woman. For a laugh, discuss your own ideal-partner checklist!
- Were you surprised at the ultimate revelation of Rosie’s biological father? Did you suspect someone else?
If you need a reminder of the philosophy behind The Walking Book Club you can read more here….
About Dr Sarah
I’m an Oxford University-educated neuroscientist, presenter of ABC Catalyst, director of The Neuroscience Academy, and author of The Women's Brain Book. The neuroscience of health, hormones and happiness.
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