The Rosie Project
Graeme Simsion, 2013
Simon & Schuster
Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially challenged professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. And so, 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 is all these things. She also is strangely beguiling, fiery, and intelligent. And while Don quickly disqualifies her as a candidate for the Wife Project, as a DNA expert Don is particularly suited to help Rosie on her own quest: identifying 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 will resonate with anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of great challenges. The Rosie Project is a rare find: a book that restores our optimism in the power of human connection. (From the publisher.)
• Birth—ca. 1956-57
• Where—Auckland, New Zealand
• Education—B.S, Monash University; M.B.A., Deakin University;
Ph.D., University of Melbourne; Advanced Diploma, Screen-
• Awards—Victorian Premier's Unpublished Manuscript Award
• Currently—lives in Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Graeme C. Simsion is a New Zealand born Australian author, screen-writer, playwright and data modeller. He won the 2012 Victorian Premier's Unpublished Manuscript Award for his book, The Rosie Project.
Prior to writing fiction he was an information systems consultant and wrote two books and several papers about data-modelling. He established a consulting business in 1982 and sold it in 1999. At that time Simsion Bowles and Associates had over seventy staff. He co-founded a wine distribution business, Pinot Now with Steven Naughton.
From 2002-2006, as a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, he conducted the largest published study of data modeling practitioners (489 participants, most with substantial industry experience), to address the question, Is data modeling better characterized as description or design? The research included interviews with thought leaders, surveys of practitioners, and practical modeling tasks.
He concluded that, in contrast to the assumption implicit in most data modeling research, data modeling is best characterized as a design discipline (the term design is used in the broad sense of design theory, rather than its more narrow and casual usage in the information systems field). His work was published as his PhD thesis "Data Modeling: Description or Design," University of Melbourne, 2006 and in Data Modeling Theory and Practice (Technics Publications, 2007).
He is married to Professor Anne Buist and has two children. (From Wikipedia. Retrieved 10/03/2013.)
* RMIT is the renamed Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
The Rosie Project is the kind of Panglossian comedy in which everything is foreordained to work out for the best. That’s not a genre that can be dismissed entirely—at least not without sacrificing P. G. Wodehouse, which no one should be prepared to do—but it’s one that doesn’t comfortably accommodate things like autism spectrum disorders.... The ultimate convention of romantic comedy is that love conquers all, but to propose that it can so easily mitigate such a painful condition may be to take convention too far.
Gabriel Roth - New York Times Book Review
Read-out-loud laughter begins by page two in Simsion’s debut novel about a 39-year-old genetics professor with Asperger’s—but utterly unaware of it—looking to... find love.... His plans take a backseat when he meets Rosie, a bartender who wants him to help her determine her birth father’s identity.
Funny, touching, and hard to put down, The Rosie Project is certain to entertain even as readers delve into deep themes. For a book about a logic-based quest for love, it has a lot of heart….[an] immensely enjoyable novel.
Polished debut fiction, from Australian author Simsion, about a brilliant but emotionally challenged geneticist who develops a questionnaire to screen potential mates but finds love instead.... The story lurches from one set piece of deadpan nudge-nudge, wink-wink humor to another: We laugh at, and with, Don as he tries to navigate our hopelessly emotional, nonliteral world....sparkling.
1. Do Don’s Asperger’s conditions help him or hinder him? Does Don’s having Autism offer any advantages in his life?
2. Don goes through a number of spectacularly bad dates. What have been some of your own dating nightmares?
3. Where do you fall on the spectrum between structure and chaos in life? Are you highly rigid in your routines or very relaxed?
4. Do you agree with Don’s assessment that “humans often fail to see what is close to them and obvious to others”? (p. 88)
5. What do you think of Gene and Claudia’s relationship? Do you know anyone in an open marriage? Can it work?
6. Don says that the happiest day of his life was spent at the Museum of Natural History. Do you have a happiest day of your life? Or is there a special place where you are happiest?
7. 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?
8. Do you have anyone on the Autism spectrum in your life?
9. 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?
10. Have you ever had a moment of breaking out of your routine and opening up in a significant way? Or has someone broken through your routine for you?
11. Is it smart to have a list of criteria for a potential partner or is it limiting?
12. Don gets in trouble with the dean for using the genetics lab for his personal project with Rosie. Is it ever okay to break the rules in order to help someone?
13. Do you feel happy for Don when he “eliminates a number of unconventional mannerisms” (p. 268) in order to win Rosie, or has he lost something?
14. Does Gene get his comeuppance?
15. Were you surprised at the ultimate revelation of Rosie’s biological father? Did you suspect someone else?
(Questions 1-15 issued by publisher.)
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