The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion

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Feature image from WELLREAD

THE ROSIE PROJECT by Graeme Simsion

By the time I came to read THE ROSIE PROJECT, its reputation was monumental.  I knew it was a romantic comedy.  I had already heard the premise of the novel.  I knew lots of people loved it.  I felt like I had already read it.  I wondered if knowing so much about the novel would ruin it all, but really, I have to say it didn’t.  I loved it.

reviews, meghan brewster reviews, book reviews, australian writers reviewed, Australian literature review, aussie writers, book review, the rosie projectIn terms of reviews, there isn’t much left to say about THE ROSIE PROJECT, and I certainly feel like I am coming to the book very late.  But I still wanted to read it.  It’s famous and Australian and had a great reputation.

In case, on the off chance you have heard nothing about The Rosie Project, here is a little blurb.  Don Tillman is an Australian scientist who has set his mind to finding a wife.  With few friends and a terrible dating record, Don sets about formatting a wife questionnaire to find a most suitable wife.  He’s a little special when it comes to engaging with others, and if you were ever a teacher like me you will be thinking Aspergers before the end of the first paragraph.

His plans are set off course when he meets Rosie, who doesn’t fit many of Tillman’s criteria, but find her way into his life regardless.  As a genetic scientist, Don is in a position to help Rosie look for her genetic father.

Things go well and then things go badly.  It’s obvious from their first date that these two will get together, but the journey there really is worth the read.

Don’s a different kind of guy.  A wonderfully unique voice that tells a delightful story.  It’s really is funny, I wasn’t expecting that.  I knew it would be cute, but I wasn’t expecting to giggle out loud to the point where my husband insisted I read him passages.  It was a fast, easy read; so quick, I consumed it in a day and a half.

“I met Rosie at the airport. She remained uncomfortable about me purchasing her ticket, so I told her she could pay me back by selecting some Wife Project applicants for me to date.
‘Fuck you,’ she said.
It seemed we were friends again.”


THE ROSIE PROJECT was published in 2012 by Text Publishing in Australia.  It was Simsion’s first work of fiction, but the acknowledgments and thanks in the back of the book are an interesting read for any emerging writer.  Here Simsion outlined the writing and publication process.


The initial thoughts for the book came in 2007 with a discussion of ideas and was not published until five years later – the play and the award and the advice and help.


As an emerging writer, it is inspiring to read good comedy.  Writing comedy is hard.  The Rosie Project is an excellent lesson in character and first person narration.  What The Rosie Project also does well is, each chapter is like a short story.  Every event in the book reads like a short, gripping story with beginning middle and end.  There is no paragraph in this book that I skipped over.

When The Rosie Project was published, it was received very well.  The SMH noted that ‘The Rosie Project, published last year, has rapidly become one of the most discussed and widely loved books in Australia – and rapidly, the English-speaking literary world.’

I used to get disgruntled by the fact that all the newspapers in Australia review the same books.  In every shop, the same books were being pushed, and people were only talking about the best sellers.  What I have come to realise is that there a great deal of terrible books being printed every year.  There are hundreds of books produced that are quite ordinary.  Bestsellers become bestsellers for a reason.

While reading this book, I learned that the premise of a successful novel can be surprisingly simple.  That a writer might simply do one thing very well, and that that is enough.

The Rosie Project film is currently in preproduction with Jennifer Lawrence set to play Rosie.  The release date is still unknown.


by Meg

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