Bill Gates and I are Soul Brother and Sister, because…
- We both use Microsoft products.
- We both read and recommend The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. Brother Bill, was introduced to the book through his wife’s suggestion. I picked up the title based on the glowing reviews on Amazon.
The Rosie Project Book Review
This book is a five-star, fast-moving humorous love story about a Professor Nerd (boy) meets (girl) Badass Ph.D. Psychology Student by way of a failed attempt to use a scientific algorithmic survey to find a wife.
Main Character (Protagonist) – Don Tillman
The Rosie Project is written in the voice of Don Tillman (I dub him “The Professor” in my book review). The Professor is a 39-year-old, single, professor of Genetics at a university in Australia. Characteristically speaking, The Professor is a socially inept, “genetics geek,” and a virgin with Asperger’s. He is an alien too. You read right, The Professor is an alien, well not really. Well, yes really — it is legit. The US government grants visas to aliens “who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences” among other disciplines. Because of his quirkiness, he is a funny, too.
Underneath his geeky armor, The Professor’s silhouette is sculpted with defined pecks and whatnot, because he practices a modern Japanese martial art form called Aikido. Villain beware, because he will dish out a “whoop-ass” if need be.
His world context of women are stuck in the dark ages; this is revealed by his dated use of language. He made the mistake of referring to Rosie as a barmaid instead of a bartender. C’mon son – get with the times. That language is dead like Latin. To compound his dated lexicon, he also has a wandering eye for women with “sizeable boobs.” His out of touch observations do not deviate from who he is: like the time he described his date as a “blonde with big tits, in fact, her breasts were probably no more than one and a half standard deviations from the mean size for her body weight and hardly a remarkable identifying feature.”
His clothing choices are similar to that of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. They all belong to the standardized, repeatable wardrobe club to conserve brain function by not making foolish fashion decisions.
The Professor relishes in “being seen as someone not tied to the norms of society.”
Main Character – Rosie Jarman
Smoker Rosie Jarman is a smart, sassy and spicy “almost thirty” Ph.D. Candidate of Psychology at the same university Professor Don Tillman teaches genetics. She has daddy issues and works part-time as a bartender at the Marquess of Queensberry. To substantiate Rosie’s smarts; she scored a near perfect mark (a seventy-four to be exact) on the GAMSAT for medical school. She is “basically vegetarian; seafood is okay if it’s sustainable.” In other words, let’s not complicate this, Rosie is a sustainable eating pescatarian.
Rosie’s mother died when she was 10 in the same car accident; her physical trainer stepfather Phil Jarmon saved her from. To add to the unfortunate drama “Rosie’s mother was a bit wild in her younger days and engaged in unprotected sex outside her primary relationship.” Rosie’s mother, a doctor, shared blue eyes with her husband Phil and Rosie’s eyes are brown “that was when my mother realized that Phil wasn’t my father and decided to tell him.” Consequently, Phil tells Rosie without the icing on the cake; he is not her real dad. Because of this admission, Rosie embarks on who’s your daddy DNA adventures with The Professor.
Secondary Character – Gene Barrow
Professor Gene Barrow is “fifty-six years old with a wife and two kids.” He is a geneticist professor, however now he is the head of the Psychology Department at the same university The Professor teaches genetics.
What’s in a name – you ask? That question remains unanswered, but I can tell you this; Gene is a “sexist pig” and wanna be Casanova married to Claudia. “Gene has a project to have sex with as many women of as many different nationalities as possible.” Because of this “project” Gene has stepped outside of his marriage. He documents each extramarital sexual entanglement with a pin on a map in his office.
Secondary Character – Claudia Barrow
Claudia Barrow is the patient wife of Gene and is a clinical psychologist. She is the mother of Gene’s two children. Claudia is a good friend to The Professor offering sage advice to him, often. Her relationship philosophy offers visibility into her character: “If you really love someone, you have to be prepared to accept them as they are. Maybe you hope that one day they get a wake-up call and make the changes for their own reasons”.
Secondary Character – Phil Jarman
Phil Jarmon is Rosie’s stepfather. He is the owner of Jarman’s Gym. To mirror his testosterone driven profession, he drives a red convertible Porsche. He promised Rosie as a young child he would take her to Disneyland, but he figured she forgot about their conversation.
The Wife Project
The book opens with Professor Don Tillman (“The Professor“) having found the solution to the “social problem of finding a wife.” Even “The Good Book”, draws a favorable conclusion to such endeavor. As evidenced by the Shakespearean dialect of the King James version of the Bible that puts it like this: “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD”. He approaches his dating experiments like a failed Facebook algorithm. In his mind, a scientific questionnaire is an obvious solution to finding a wife.
“The Wife Project” questionnaire is a purpose-built, scientifically valid instrument incorporating current best practice to filter out the time wasters, the disorganized, the ice-cream discriminators, the visual-harassment complainers, the crystal gazers, the horoscope readers, the fashion obsessives , the religious fanatics, the vegans, the sports watchers, the creationists, the smokers, the scientifically illiterate, the homeopaths, leaving, ideally, the perfect partner or, realistically, a manageable short list of candidates”.
- Step #1 – The Professor meets women through “traditional” dating sites
- Step #2 – He determines his sample size, by gathering anecdotal data from that scientific survey thingamajig
- Step #3 – He conducts dating experiments to test his hypothesis of finding a wife by any means necessary
The Professor’s questionnaire spawned a few first dates with: “Olivia’s BMI at 19: slim but not signs of anorexia. I estimated Sharon the Accountant’s at twenty-three, and Maria the Nurse at 28. The recommended healthy maximum is twenty-five.” Coupled with his keen eye for a women’s size, he also has a penchant for promptness.
The 7 Stages of Love “Rosie Style”
Stage #1 – How They Met
The love story begins something like this: Rosie enters The Professor’s office, “Professor Barrow suggested I see you. Someone told me you can tell if a person’s monogamous by the size of their testicles.” Rosie was mistaken by The Professor as one of the wife candidates that completed the scientific survey of sorts. In presumptive haste, he invites Rosie to dinner. “How about we do dinner tonight?” She responds with a jacket-required restaurant. “How about Le Gavroche and you’re paying?” Since their first date was made for the same night, The Professor had to hack the reservation system to get a seat at the table.
He arrives at the restaurant with a waterproof windbreaker jacket on, instead of the required attire of the fancy establishment. Standing his ground, The Professor gets into a physical clash with the restaurant staff because technically he has on a jacket.
“Don, you would make someone a wonderful husband.”
Stage #2 – Discovery
After The Professor’s “Revenge of the Nerds” fight scene, they meander back to The Professor’s house to eat, one of his standardized meals that are scheduled to be eaten on Tuesdays. According to The Professor’s eating rules “Wine is not scheduled for Tuesdays. “Fuck that,” said Rosie.” Nothing like a badass woman to shake sh^t up. They eat, talk and learn about each other which included a conversation about Rosie’s “father,” not being her biological father. “My real dad is a doctor. I just don’t know which one.” They end the night with the standard first date pleasantries.
Stage #3 – Denial
The Professor’s assessment of Rosie is based on his scientific survey thingamajig. As a matter fact, she doesn’t measure up to the Wife’s Project because she is “A barmaid. Late, vegetarian, disorganized, irrational, unhealthy, smoker—smoker! — psychological problems, can’t cook, mathematically incompetent, unnatural hair color. “To see her again would be in total contradiction to the rationale for the Wife Project.”
“Humans often fail to see what is close to them and obvious to others.”
Stage #4 – False Pretense
Rosie never completed “The Wife Project” questionnaire, however, The Professor’s hypothesis was that she must have been interested.
He makes up some coy plan to help Rosie find her biological father. Even though she is so “patently inappropriate” as a suitable life partner. The audacity of men, trying to justify their intent with coded actions. The Professor continues with his irrational logic “Rosie was not a date. I had rejected her, comprehensively, as a potential partner, and we were together because of a joint project. It was like a meeting.” The Professor commits to the “The Father Project” to have routine face time with Rosie.
Stage #5 – State of Confusion
Despite the confusion in his head, together they begin their adventures of collecting DNA samples to perform testing to uncover Rosie’s biological father. From posing as bartenders, lighting up the dance floor as the DNA dancing duo and traveling across the Atlantic Ocean.
On their way to NYC, The Professor meets Rosie at the airport to get additional DNA samples of two doctors that moved to the states. “She remained uncomfortable about my 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 nerve of The Professor. #SMDH
In anticlimactic fashion, The Professor got busted “using the DNA machine for private purposes” which was a “breach of the Genetics Department regulations.”
Until he met Rosie, his life was a set of repeated routines governed by his “holy schedule.”
“My feelings for her could not be explained by logic.”
Stage #6 – It Must Be Love
The Professor and Rosie feelings go heart-to-heart with each other and no longer meander around the edges of their existence. As in most scenarios of love, there are the intangibles that fall short of one’s shopping list of desirables. “Rosie identified three faults of The Professor: no idea of social behavior, your life’s ruled by a whiteboard, and you’re incapable of feeling love— you’re perfect.” The Professor’s snap-back summation of Rosie: “You failed almost every criterion of the Wife Project. Disorganized, mathematically illiterate, ridiculous food requirements. Incredible. I considered sharing my life with a smoker.” The courting, dating, mating dynamics of irrational humans.
They tip-toe around the pantyhose conversation of love. Rosie asks “Don’t you care about me?” The Professor replies “I care about you enormously.” Quietly, in his mind The Professor “wanted her to fall in love with me.”
“If you really love someone, you have to be prepared to accept them as they are. Maybe you hope that one day they get a wake-up call and make the changes for their own reasons”.
Stage #7 – Happily Ever After
The Professor proposed to Rosie by stating the obvious “you have short earlobes. Socially and genetically there’s no reason for me to be attracted to you. The only logical conclusion is that I must be in love with you.” He seals the proposal with a kiss and Rosie reacts with “You’d better not let me down, I’m expecting constant craziness.”
The story winds down with their move from Australia to Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
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