The Rosie Project (Graeme Simsion, Text)
This funny, feel-good take on Asperger’s Syndrome has been getting huge international and local buzz. It’s the story of Don Tillman, a 40-year-old professor of genetics at a Melbourne university who looks a little like Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockinbird. He also has undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome, which manifests itself in obsessive organisation and amusing social faux pas. Don hasn’t had much success in love so he designs a questionnaire to help him find his perfect wife. It’s a bunch of quirky questions that just about everyone fails, sometimes in quite hilarious circumstances. When Don hands over the wife project to his best friend Gene he is sent Rosie, who is a total failure on paper but, strangely enough, seems to make Don happy. The subplot involves Rosie’s search for her biological father, which sends Rosie and Don on various madcap adventures, including a whirlwind trip to New York. This is the debut novel from Melbourne writer Graeme Simsion, which won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript in 2012. If you’re looking for something that has a serious message about Asperger’s Syndrome this is not the book. It sets out to be a cute-and-quirky love story and it delivers just that.
Melanie Barton is senior category manager at Bookworld.com.au