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review 2019-11-29 01:15
"The Rosie Project - Don Tillman #1" by Graeme Simison - Highly Recommended
The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1) - Graeme Simsion,Dan O'Grady

I made an error and dodged this book when it was first being promoted. I'd assumed that any humorous book in which the hero is a neuroatypical man would source its laughter at his expense. I should have had more faith. 


What Graeme Simsion has managed to achieve is a perfectly formed RomCom which works because the hero is neuroatypical. He, like any other romantic hero, has obstacles to overcome, some of which he creates for himself and some of which are created by the people around him, and we hold our breath to see if he can win through. We cheer for him for being himself. We want him to succeed without having to change anything essential about himself. 


Don Tillman, our hero a tenured associate professor of genetics at an Australian university. He understands that his brain is wired differently from most other people's and that, while this gives him many strengths that other people don't have, strong powers of concentration, an excellent memory, the ability to maintain a rational distance when solving problems and an aptitude for being disciplined and organised, his lack of social skills are likely to make it harder for him to find a life partner.


He decides to solve the problem by starting "The Wife Project", a questionnaire-based search for his perfect match. When he meets Rosie, a self-evidently poor match for his search criteria, he gets involved in "The Father Project", helping her to identify her biological father.


"The Father Project" leads Don into many activities he would not normally have considered, some of them illegal and all of them in Rosie's company.


The plot is beautifully structured as a RomCom quest. It has a number of surprising twists and while I wanted Don to succeed, I was kept guessing about if or how this would be possible.


The writing is light but deft. Seeing the world through Don Tillman's eyes is a revelation. While there are some very funny scenes, the main tone of the book is compassionate and hopeful.


I stayed up late because I had to know how things worked out. It was worth the loss of sleep.


I'm glad to see that there are more Don Tillman books. I need to spend more time in Don Tillman's company.


I recommend the audiobook version, brilliantly narrated by Dan O'Grady. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.

I'm counting "The Rosie Project" as my Melbourne Cup Day Book Task
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review 2019-08-03 03:27
The Last Volume of the Trilogy Recovers most of the Magic of The Rosie Project
The Rosie Result (Don Tillman #3) - Graeme Simsion

So I loved The Rosie Project Simsion's tale of a geneticist who is probably on the Autism spectrum, but has never been diagnosed, setting out to find a romantic partner in the most scientific way he can. It was charming, funny, and hit all the right emotional notes. If you haven't read it, go do so now. The sequel, The Rosie Effect, about the early days of Don and Rosie's marriage had a lot of the same traits but fell short on the story and heart. Which gave me a lot of pause when I saw a third volume was coming out a few months ago. But curiosity got the better of me, and I picked up a copy from the Library.


Phew! Simsion's remembered what made Project so successful. It's not quite as good, but it's close enough for me.


Don and Rosie move back to Australia after a decade-plus in NYC. He's returned to his university, Rosie's got a major research position. They didn't consult their son about the move, that's causing all the problems associated with someone on the verge of adolescence being moved thousands of miles away from everything he's ever known. To complicate things, Hudson's a lot more like his dad than even Don realized. Incredibly intelligent, opinionated, precise, overly literal, socially awkward and stubborn. Throw a kid like that into a new school, new country, with no friends or teachers who know him—especially when he's unhappy—and you have a recipe for disaster.


Which is precisely what Don and Rosie have on their hands. Hudson's school is on the verge of expelling him but is willing to make allowances for someone diagnosed with Autism—while taking them out of the mainstream classes and educational path. Neither of his parents are all that interested in that course and begin working with Hudson on ways to fit in.


To add to that, Don's fallen victim to the outrage culture of contemporary universities by answering a question about skin tone straight-forward and matter-of-factly with no thought of political/social connotations of his words. It was, of course, caught on video and has put his entire career in jeopardy. Rosie is dealing with a boss who seems to favor another member of the team she's nominally leading and blatant misogyny from the boss and that team-member.


Don decides to take a leave of absence from his job (handing a victory to those wanting his head, but protecting his job so he can return after the dust settles) and sets out to help Hudson in a strategic fashion like he had done for himself on various fronts. With help from family and friends, he sets out to help Hudson gain some friends, become able to participate in group sports, dress like a normal kid, and essentially fit in.


There are lots of ups and downs along the way—Hudson does grow, but not in all the ways Don wants or expects. Don does, too—even making a friend who's into homeopathy and against vaccines (even if he's committed to showing her the error of her ways).


I do wish Rosie had been a bigger presence in this book, that's my biggest complaint, really. Not just because her name is in the title, but she's Hudson's mom and Don's wife. She should've had more to do in the story rather than being relegated (for reasons the story allows for) to a supporting character.


The basic theme of the book is about embracing who you are and finding a balance between fitting in with society and compromising who you are—if you're on the Spectrum or not. In addition to having a lot of humor and heart, the overall tone is hopeful, oddly optimistic. It's a great, heartwarming read that will remind readers why they loved the character of Don Tillman and will provoke a lot of thought while providing a great amount of entertainment.

2019 Library Love Challenge Humor Reading Challenge 2019

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2019/08/02/the-rosie-result-by-graeme-simsion-the-last-volume-of-the-trilogy-recovers-most-of-the-magic-of-the-rosie-project
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review 2019-07-28 22:37
Final Book in Tillman Series Swings Back From Second Book Syndrome
The Rosie Result (Don Tillman #3) - Graeme Simsion

Here's a link to my second review in this series: The Rosie Effect. I flat out disliked the second book and was flabbergasted that Simsion changed things up to having Rosie and Don move to New York and having Don and Rosie act of character. Thank goodness that is all fixed in the third book with us following Don and Rosie eleven years after the birth of their son Hudson. Simsion also kept force fitting in the character of Gene (who I disliked) and we find out what all happened there. I think that this book definitely shines a lot more and we finally have Don coming to realize that he doesn't have to be labeled something he doesn't want and if he does, he can own things in his own way. We get to see he and Rosie actually working as partners. Things that didn't work for me was the parents of Blanche. That whole story-line was wonderfully handled, but the ending it just seemed that people are all going to just wait for something worse to happen. Also, I think that we didn't really get a satisfying ending with the woman who caused Don to get in trouble at university. I guess I don't like the idea of someone trying to use racism to get some hits on their blog and who we get to see acting like a racist jerk later in the story. 


"The Rose Result" follows Don and Rosie as they move back to Australia with their 10 year old son Hudson. Moving from New York back to Australia has caused some difficulties for the whole family. Rosie has a change to be on a great clinical trial but her being a wife and mother is holding her back due to the sexism of the head researcher. Don goofs badly when talking about racism in his class and his lecture goes viral. From there he is at loose ends on what to do. Hudson is having problems in school and seems to have no friends and his teacher and principal think he may be autistic. 


We once again get the story told via Don's POV. We have plain speaking Don back and for once he's not trying to be sneaky or do things that he would never have tried in the first book. He and Rosie are more partners in this one with them both trying to deal with work and parenting. I also thought that there is a little hint there about why the two of them have fallen off a bit with their love-making, but it's not followed up with which I thought was rare considering the character of Don. 

We also find out about some of Don's longstanding friendships with Claudia, Gene, George, and Dave. We still have Don wanting to "fix" his friends, but for once he doesn't try to meddle without discussing it. And I have to say that we get a better insight into his relationship with his father. And I loved Rosie's relationship with her dad in this one too and honestly how many people loved the Tillman family.

The biggest thing I thought was that this book challenges stereotypes of those who are autistic. We know that Don has refused to be labeled and has danced away from that in his life. However, now that things are going badly for Hudson at school, Don is focused on the Hudson Project and Don quits his job and works on ways to make sure that his son doesn't suffer as he did as a child and adult. I thought this was so good and I loved how Simsion handled it. 

The secondary characters are very good in this one. I really liked Hudson a lot and thought that he was a really good and thoughtful kid. His budding friendship with two kids in his school were great (Blanche and Dev) though I really really disliked Blanche's parents.

And we get Simsion doing a great job juxtaposing another family to the Tillman's. Blanche's parents don't believe in science, refuse to have her vaccinated, and all signs points to her father abusing her mother. I really wish that some things had gotten a bigger push by Simsion. The vaccination thing really ticks me off. I have had to personally decline to go over to people's homes who don't vaccinate their children because my stomach condition can flare up worse if I get sick with the flu and studies have shown that with full vaccination (I am) it gets better. Obviously people who can't get vaccinated due to their own medical conditions is a different thing. Okay, off my soapbox now.

The writing was great. I think that the last book lost something with Rosie and Don being in New York and this book brings back all that heart that was missing. The flow was very good though I got confused about how terms/schools work in Australia. 

The book ends I thought on a good note for Hudson though I wish things had been better resolved on a lot of fronts (Gene, Blanche's parents, what Hudson did/didn't do, and Don's new job). 


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review 2018-06-25 04:49
The Best of Adam Sharp
The Best of Adam Sharp - Graeme Simsion

When I saw this title available on NetGalley, I immediately requested it, based on having read Simsion's other books. In retrospect, I should have known that this was different, especially with the summary including the part about Adam Sharp, "on the cusp of turning 50", which, in my experience, never bodes well for the unsuspecting wife and the seemingly happy marriage. I think what I missed was the charm of Simsion's other novels, which were appealing in their breezy way, and not at all affected, as Adam Sharp seems to be here, caught up in what can only be described as a mid-life crisis fantasy. Simsion doesn't do any favors to the women he depicts here, either. Despite all this, I kept reading; because I am weak, and I needed to know what happened in the end. And no, I'm not really proud of that. The music aspect appealed to me, invoking Nick Hornby themes, but it couldn't overcome my issues with the often creepy-feeling plot twists. I still think Simsion is a terrific writer (I wouldn't have been able to finish it otherwise), so I will try to keep an open mind about whatever he comes up with next.

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review 2018-04-28 18:35
THE ROSIE EFFECT by Graeme Simsion
The Rosie Effect: A Novel - Graeme Simsion
  This is the sequel to The Rosie Project. Now Don and Rosie are married, living in New Year, and pregnant. Don has many unusual ways to learn about pregnancy and how he'll be as a father. Unfortunately he and Rosie are not communicating well with each other and havoc ensues.

I love this couple! Don is so literal about everything and Rosie does not want to hear it. She's studying and working on her thesis and does not want to be distracted. Don wants to make sure Rosie is not stressed so he keeps secrets which he has not done before. It blows up in Don's face and he almost loses all that is important to him.

There are the returning characters--Gene, Claudia, and their children. There are new characters--Sonia, Dave, George, the 3 B's, Lydia, and others--that Don has to learn to work with or around. I had to laugh as Don plows right through. I'm going to miss these characters. Don and Rosie were fun!
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