Book Review: The Rosie Project

Why I Picked it: This book was on many 2013 top books read lists that I wanted to read it, to see what the buzz was about.

Synopsis: 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.

Quick take: Having finished the book a few weeks ago now, I've had time to think about this review. For me, the book ends up in the 'cute and quirky' category.  Once Don meets Rosie the book shifts from a guy looking for a wife, to solving the mystery of 'who is Rosie's father'.  Don becomes obsessed with finding her father, even when it seems she no longer needs to know.

Don is an interesting character, engaging to the reader.  Who he is threads from page one to the end, for example he scans everyone he encounters to calculate BMI, as if taking inventory.  The inappropriate questions he asks will make you laugh.

He's quirky and has a need to get to the yes/no quickly. I loved the idea of the dating questionnaire and couldn't wait to see what was going to happen.

I wish the author would have written more on Don's friend and the wife.  A lot of good content to explore with this couple.

Most loved this one, calling it an addictive read that's laugh-out-loud funny. Here are a few great reviews:
Leeswammes Blog
Book Chatter

Have you read it?  What did I miss?

Rating: 3 stars
Source: personal copy (audio)


  1. You were a lot kinder than I thought you'd be with this review. You weren't liking it all that much when I talked to you last.

    What surprised me and went right over my head until the very end, is that the setting was in Australia. I had no idea. I must have skipped that part because I didn't realize it until the end.

    1. It's not that I didn't like it, but the middle does lag a bit too much. This would have been a great place to explore his friends marriage (the guy who cheats on this wife). I still don't see this as a love story though, I never felt Rosie had an interest in Don.

  2. I felt pretty much the same as you on this one Mari ---so so (audio version for me).

  3. Cute and quirky is a great way to describe this book. I loved it, it was like watching a romantic comedy, but i can also admit that it is not a book that will rock the world with its profundity. One of the things that has truly won me over is that Don is on Twitter and has tweeted me several times.

  4. Gwendolyn wrote: just finished. The characterization was spot on at times--other times too cute. The story line was fun for a while and a little oversweet,

  5. Cute and quirky might be just what I need when I finally finish Possession!


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