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The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project by Graeme SimsionThe Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Series: Don Tillman #1
Published by Michael Joseph on April 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 297
ISBN: 9780718178123
Source: Purchased



An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.

Spiritual Content

There are a few religious references throughout The Rosie Project, but it’s far from preachy. Don talks with a Hindu woman on a group date as part of the Wife Project. One of Don’s students complains about his resolution to their debate on evolution versus “creation science.” There’s mention of how Anwar might “miss out on his seventy-two virgins” for unknowingly drinking rum the night before.


There are only a few violent acts throughout The Rosie Project, all brief and non-graphic. In a hypothetical scenario, a group of kids suggests shooting a crying baby as a “rational” response to the baby’s cries giving away their position to an enemy. While waiting for Rosie at Le Gavroche (a French restaurant), Don “disables” two security guards using Aikido. Don talks to Phil while undergoing “an assessment” (i.e., boxing) and breaks his nose. At one point, Phil punches Gene in the face.

Drug And Alcohol Content

There’s some smoking throughout The Rosie Project, and Don speculates whether a customer at Rosie’s work uses steroids, but that’s all as far as drugs go.

As for alcohol, Don mentions that his work “focuses on genetic predisposition to cirrhosis of the liver” and that most of his “working time is devoted to getting mice drunk.” Don, his friends, and his dates frequently drink alcohol (usually wine or beer). While prepping for a stint as a drinks waiter, Don gets drunk from sampling a variety of drinks. To discover the identity of her father, Rosie and Don serve alcohol at a class reunion and encourage people to drink, allowing them to collect their DNA from the glasses.

Sexual Content

Don mentions his friend, Gene, wanting to skip giving a lecture on Asperger’s Syndrome because “he had the opportunity to sleep with a Chilean academic” as part of “a project to have sex with women of as many different nationalities as possible.” On several occasions, Don and his friends talk about everything from tit and testicle size to semen quantity and its correlation to monogamy. Don mentions asking Wife Project candidates about HIV and herpes. To prepare for his stint as a drinks waiter, Don mixes a drink called a “cocksucking cowboy.” There’s talk of Gene and Don’s sex lives, and at one point, Don gets a book on sexual positions and practices them with a skeleton he borrowed from the Anatomy Department. There are three non-descriptive kisses between Don and Rosie.

Swearing Or Foul Language

  • 33 uses of f-
  • 22 uses of sh-t
  • Three uses of p-
  • Two uses of a-
  • One use of b-rd
  • One use of h-ll

My Take On The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Despite its excessive swearing and far-too-frequent conversation on not-so-innocent things, The Rosie Project is a surprisingly good clean romance novel. The story is hilarious, the violence non-graphic, and the kisses non-descriptive. While I can’t, in good conscience, recommend it for young readers, if you’re an adult looking for your next clean read, you can’t go wrong with Graeme Simsion’s internationally best-selling novel. 

About Graeme Simsion

Graeme C. Simsion is a New Zealand-born Australian author, screenwriter, playwright, and data modeller, best known for his first novel The Rosie Project.

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