The Rosie Project

Author: 
Simsion, Graeme

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.)

Genre: 
Discussion Guide: 

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?