With all that has been going on in the world, (and I watch a lot of different news sources), with what is going on with the family, (it changes by hour), and with what is going on with my new and old health problems, I looked for something light-hearted to listen to as I did things slowly around the house.
“The Rosie Project” came up on YouTube as a recommendation.
Although I do not agree with everything that is held in opinion in this book, our difference are mentioned very lightly,(and indeed, one is treated with more respect than when the subject was introduced). I would say this story is rated PG-13. It’s pretty discreet with just a little ‘talk’, and really no swearing.
I laughed out loud right away,
and did so quite a number of times through the book.
We meet Don Tillman, an Australian college professor, a geneticist, who was just asked by his only real friend and fellow professor to give a talk on Asperger’s Syndrome. It is obvious that Don could easily be diagnosed with this condition. He doesn’t see it in himself, and when asked if this reminded him of anyone, he mentions another professor in another department.
The story is told in Don’s POV. Don is so clueless and Obsessive-Compulsive that you have to laugh as to how matter of fact he takes his life, his self-imposed regulations, and his compulsions.
Don’s professor friend is a terrible womanizer. Don doesn’t approve, but decides that he is going to believe that if it works for Gene and his wife, Claudia, who is he to worry about it? He thinks that he shouldn’t have feelings about it.
Gene and Claudia are psychologists. Claudia counsels Don, but does so as a friend, and she tells her husband everything, since there is no client-counselor confidentiality. She thinks that Gene, as Don’s friend, can help him.
How much does she really know about Gene is a question that comes to mind. How much of her husband’s behavior is really okay with her is another.
In the course of the story, we find that Don realized at a young age that he was ‘different’. He believes that he has a disconnect to people, but we hear his thoughts and know that it is not completely true, even though he seems unable to understand when the Dean asks him to please tone down his black -and-white, wrong-and-right, views of the world in dealing with students of different beliefs and cultures.
Don shows great sympathy for an older woman neighbor who has had to put her husband in a nursing home. He befriends her and shows her incredible kindnesses. He enjoys her company. He realizes that he has gained a lot from her. When she also succumbs to Alzheimer’s, goes into the nursing home and ceases to recognize him when he visits, in his logic he simply stops the visits, but he takes her words to heart: she had told him that he would make a good husband.
Don tries online dating. He makes up his own detailed, (and impossible to meet), requirements on a questionnaire, which he actually hands to women. Don and Claudia try to get him to lighten up, but without much success. Gene sends to him a young woman named Rosie whom Don considers very unsuitable right away, but he finds her situation compelling. She wants to know who her biological father is. Gene, as a geneticist, can handle that.
In the meantime, he hasn’t completely stopped “The Wife Project”, but now “The Rosie Project” takes up most of his thoughts and time.
Frankly, I thought that I saw how this would end right away, both with Don and with Rosie’s project. (I did get thrown a curve for a while.)
What happens, how they accomplish narrowing down of the father-suspects, their crazy schemes for surreptitiously collecting DNA samples, Don’s continued search for wifely candidates and his problems with his college and students, is all terribly amusing.
You gotta love Don, and as unusual as it seems, I liked Gene, Claudia, Rosie and the Dean.
Trying not to give spoilers here is difficult. If they would bother you, skip to the next break.
We watch as Don realizes that he isn’t as disconnected as he, (and possibly the attitude of others), have convinced him that he is, and we see what Don doesn’t want to admit that he sees: Rosie isn’t quite as free a spirit that she seems to be.
Don also realizes that he gains more control by loosening up and letting himself be himself, and not live in the parameters which he and others’ opinions had made him form about himself. He then helps his friends as much, if not more, than they have helped him.
Whether those are spoilers or not, whether you see on your own what is coming or not, I think that you will laugh and be a bit touched while you get to know and love Don and Rosie as I did with Graeme Simsion’s “The Rosie Project”.
I heard that there was a movie made of this. I have no intention of trying to watch it. I will, however, seek out more works of Graeme Simsion, the author.
[FYI, I listened to Simon and Schuster’s version read by Dan O’Grady, which is read with a clear, but soft, Australian accent. It contains the original British/Australian terms. It’s easy enough to understand, although I heard that they changed some of the wording in Americanized versions. As in Harry Potter, they changed “jumper” to “sweater”, and the term “wanker” is used, but I have no idea what they substituted for it in the American reading. Although this word had quite a vulgar beginning, it is a common enough phrase which now pretty much means “loser”, as now few Americas blanch at the phrase that something “sucks”.]
This story sounds fascinating! I looked up the book and its sequels and all three sound wonderful. I’ll have to wait a bit to tackle them though. Perhaps I’ll have to try the audio book route again.
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I picked it up on YouTube,Patty. The reading is so good, I would go against my usual advice and recommend it over reading the book to get the whole experience of the Australian aspect. (Nicely spoken; don’t expect Crocodile Dundee!)
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Sounds intriguing… and would be quite a change of pace within my (already diverse) reading array.
Glad to hear it made you laugh. Most of us need more laughter in our daily grinds.
I don’t know if you have ever heard of Temple Grandin. She’s a woman with some sort of Autism, whose family worked hard for her,(trial and error), and she worked on herself. She’s a college professor who developed the most humane slaughterhouses, which most of America had adopted. Her work with people all along the autism spectrum is unparalleled because of her own experiences.
The movie of her life is fascinating.
Don, the character in the book, is actually more empathetic and socially aware than he allowed himself to be.
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This story sounds so interesting. I am going to put it on my list to read. Although I’ll have to see if I can find the unaltered version, I don’t think I’d want to read an Americanized version of it.
Thank you so much for sharing this.
I felt the need to share this one, Angie. This story and Don will stay with me for some time. I think that labels are dangerous, as is not connecting with others openly. We have to resist letting others put limitations on us, and those making us put limitations on ourselves, whether it is emotional, mental, or physical,(even not allowing one’s self to feel comfortable in one’s own skin.)
I don;think the American version is much different; just a few words which Americans are not familiar. As I said, even in Harry Potter, Mrs.Weasley didn’t knit dresses for her sons, as Americans would think when they read “jumper” instead of “sweater”.