Book Review: The Rosie Result, by Graeme Simsion

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_the_rosie_result.jpgFirst came The Rosie Project, followed by The Rosie Effect, and now Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are back in The Rosie Result, a tale as important and thought-provoking as it is entertaining.

In this, the third, and probably final instalment, Don and Rosie have returned to Australia. Here they must face their most important challenge yet: preparing their socially awkward son, Hudson, for High School. Fans of the earlier books may be disappointed that Rosie takes a step into the background for this one, as the focus is mainly on how Don who faced similar issues himself (and is still prone to making social errors, often with quite hilarious results), is willing to take on the task – but it is not one he can do alone, and will require assistance from friends both old and new. And it will also raise significant questions about finding one’s own identity, and what it really means to ‘fit in’.

Whilst the earlier books fleetingly mentioned autism, The Rosie Result delves more deeply into the topic, and what it might mean to the characters, to receive a formal diagnosis. It also challenges some of the preconceptions – all whilst maintaining an entertaining, engaging read.

The cast are, as usual, a quirky and eclectic mix. My favourite was Hudson’s friend, Blanche, who must deal not only with the obstacles of albinism, but also having a homeopath (with anger issues) for a father. There is also a level of madcap craziness, as Don’s tendency to think scientific over socially-acceptable leads to a few misadventures, such as the Genetics Lecture Outrage – but it is thankfully not too heavy on the schadenfreude.

For a read that appears light on the surface, The Rosie Result contains a lot of depth, and makes one think a lot about identity, about the influence of “the school years” on future life, and about the friends that we choose. It challenges preconceptions about those who are different, and also encourages acceptance: both of others and your own identity. Overall, I would view this is as the strongest book in the series, and a very fitting finale.

Reviewed by Angela Oliver

The Rosie Result
by Graeme Simsion
Published by Text Publishing
ISBN 9781925773477

Book Review: The Best of Adam Sharp, by Graeme Simsion

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_The_best_of_Adam_sharpThis book is really good chick lit – so good,  I would have assumed the book had a female author, had I not read the front cover.

The book starts with an email Adam Sharp receives from Angelina Brown, an Australian actress who was briefly the love of his life more than 20 years ago. He was a British IT contractor on an assignment in Melbourne and they met in a club where he occasionally played the piano and sang in exchange for a few beers. That night he was trying to impress a woman he was on a date with, but all thoughts of her were forgotten when Angelina walked up to his piano and asked if he knew a particular song.

Although Angelina was married to Richard, the pair had a short but intense fling before Adam had to leave to fulfil the next part of his contract. Despite their best intentions, life got in the way and they ended up going their separate ways. Adam had a long relationship with his partner Claire and never gave Angelina another thought – until he received an email from her, with just the word ‘hi’.

The pair start an online conversation that Adam keeps from Claire. She is stressed as it is, as she is in the process of selling her software company. If the sale goes ahead she will end up in the US, and Adam has made it clear he isn’t prepared to go with her. The emails lead to Angelina inviting Adam to join her and her second husband Charlie on holiday in France. Adam doesn’t know why she invited him, but he knows things aren’t going anywhere with Claire so he ends their relationship and heads to France.

As soon as they are reunited, it’s obvious there is still an attraction between them. But Angelina is married with three children… and Adam doesn’t know what he wants, other than to go back to the time they first met. I don’t want to give away anything by going into detail about what happens in France, but it will shock and surprise readers!

The ending had a few surprises in store as well, and just when you think you know what life has in store for Adam, Angelina, Charlie – and Claire – Simsion throws another curve ball into the mix.

It’s an easy and enjoyable read, made all the more interesting by the playlist of songs that accompanies it. I’d guess the author is about my age as I knew all but a few of the songs listed, and could summon the lyrics as I read the book.

Reviewed by Faye Lougher

The Best of Adam Sharp
by Graeme Simsion
Published by Text Publishing
ISBN 9781925355376

Book review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

jacketThis book is in bookstores now.

It’s one of the first books in 2013 to garner loads of industry and reviewer buzz and the author is a Kiwi!

Auckland born now Melbourne based, author Graeme Simsion’s debut novel, The Rosie Project, is a sweet, hilarious and utterly unique take on the age old quest to find true love. His hero is undiagnosed Aspergers sufferer and professor of genetics Don Tillman, a man who is more than a touch unconventional. For instance he lives his life by a carefully created life and meal schedule timed to the minute – meaning he loathes change or uncertainly – but is without doubt, intellectually brilliant and socially awkward in equal measure.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, Don is more than a little unlucky in love but hits upon an idea to find his ideal wife – a questionnaire (which stretches to 16 pages no less!) to weed out women who don’t meet his extensive perfect match criteria. No “time wasters, the disorganised, the ice cream discriminators, the visual harassment complainers, the crystal gazers, the horoscope readers, the fashion obsessives, the religious fanatics, the vegans, the sport watchers, the creationists, the smokers, the scientifically illiterate, the homeopaths, leaving, ideally, the perfect partner…”


Of course the one person Don does fall for, Rosie Jarman, would never get a pass mark on “The Wife Project” survey but through a series of misunderstandings, this woman with her many imperfections – and a quest of her own- turns out to be absolutely perfect for Don. If only he could put aside science to see it.

This feel good comedic novel was originally written as a screenplay by Simsion and picked up the Australian writers Guilt/Inception Award for Best Romantic Comedy. After adapting it into a novel, Simsion then picked up another prestigious award with his unlikely love story, the 2012 Victorian Premier’s Literacy Award for an unpublished manuscript. The rights for the novel have been sold in over 30 countries worldwide and have netted the business-consultant-turned-full-time-writer a six figure advance.

So is The Rosie Project worth several million dollars and hundreds of column inches of glowing reviews?

Yes indeed.

The wonderful thing about The Rosie Project is the characters. Professor Don Tillman is a truly original voice. I loved the insight into how his Asperpers mind works, how detailed and literal his brain is and all the little tricks he’s learned to decipher and react to what often seems to him to be unfathomable human behaviour. In Rosie, we have a fresh, feisty and straight talking love interest with a huge heart and an intriguing story line of her own; a quest to find her biological father harnessing Don’s superior genetics knowledge and skills. Meanwhile straight-laced Don’s sex mad friend and colleague Gene provides a perfect comedic foil as well as an interesting marriage survival subplot.

Oozing warmth, fun and just a little bit of oddness, The Rosie Project is a cleverly written, funny and entertaining debut novel well deserving of the huge acclaim it has enjoyed – and I’m delighted to be able to add my own two cents worth of praise to it too.

Reviewed by Kelly Bold, The Well Read Kitty

The Rosie Project
by Graeme Simsion
Published by Text Publishing
ISBN 9781922079770