The Rosie Project (a Review)

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The Rosie Project (a Review) on

I’m a sucker for a good romance. But finding a good one seems to be just as illusive as a spunky leading lady finding her knight on a white horse. Because of this, I rarely recommend romance novels.

Formulaic plot? Nope. Dripping sentimentality? Nada. Cheesy body language descriptions: i.e. “His smile didn’t quite reach his eyes?” Pass. And completely far-fetched, over-the-top characters? I’m done.

So, now that you know where I’m coming from, let me introduce you to The Rosie Project by Graeme Simpson. I finished this delightful little novel in about two days.

Don Tillman is a genetics professor ready to settle down and find a wife. Statistically speaking, his chances of health and happiness increase with finding a suitable partner, but he excels at completely bombing any and all social interaction with other people, especially women.

Like any good scientist, Don creates a study. He calls it “The Wife Project,” a 16-page survey to filter out any unsuitable prospects. But then, he meets Rosie Jarman, a person who (statistically speaking) doesn’t make the cut, but Rosie needs Don for her own lofty project: finding her biological father. Don sees this as an opportunity. He can help Rosie with genetic testing, and Rosie can provide analysis to improve his “Wife Project.” Of course, Don soon realizes that love, despite all of the evidence against it, sometimes comes along anyway.

Don’s narrative provides almost a foil to conventional romances. He’s not emotional in the least, and he only makes rational, evidence-based decisions. He regularly has conundrums about human interaction, which the author cleverly uses to speak a fresh truth about human nature. Don’s astute, yet brutally honest observations provide profound and ironic twists to the social games involved in finding love.

Don’s personality in any social situation provides a catalyst for hilarity. His antics reminded me of the mad cap romances of the 60s with Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, and James Garner opposite Doris Day. They have a slap-stick ridiculousness that make Don’s abrasiveness become adorable and endearing. And by the end, the book explores when love should mean changing for the better or remaining true to yourself. Love means facing fears and insecurities, finding a person who can take all of those and still want to stick around for the adventure.

Do you love reading romances or do you avoid them? What unconventional romances would you recommend?

About Kelly Wiggains

Kelly Wiggains, a high school English teacher turned homeschool mom, likes to surround herself with good literature, beautiful things, and big ideas, and she wants her home to reflect those things, too. She blogs, where she talks about everything From Literature to Living.


  1. I’ve heard only good things about this one. And if you visit my blog it may give you a quiz answer this week 🙂


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