The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion

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This was an incredibly enjoyable book! Wow, I am blown away - I expected it to be mediocre but I fell in love with the story. I am probably incredibly partial because the main character probably has undiagnosed Asperger's and so does my child. We have good days when I think he'll grow up and find an okay way in the world and then there are days when, like Don, I think he'll never have a normal relationship.

I assumed the author had an Aspie in his family but, according to a Q&A, he doesn't and really didn't do any research other than life experience of working around highly intelligent and very quirky academics.

We are first introduced to the autistic concept on page 6 and see a lot more of it in Chapter 2 involving a lecture Don is asked to fill in for. Don doesn't seem to realize how closely his behaviors align with the classic Asperger's symptoms. Initially I was concerned that the book might become offensive to those on the spectrum by somehow misrepresenting them but by Chapter 3 I was comfortable with the way the subject was handled.

On a scale of 1 - 5:

Sex: 4

Religion: 1

Gruesome: 1

Suspense: 2

Morality: 4

Sex - There is a lot of talk about sex and sexual conquests and it does occur yet the specific details are glossed over.

Religion - I don't recall any mention of religion although Don might have expressed a couple of views regarding science vs. religion.

Gruesome - Some very scientific DNA collection references bodily fluids and methods of collection, usually swabbing a cup or eating utensil.

Suspense - There were a few times when I was anxious to find out how a social situation would work out.

Morality - In Chapter 9 and a few other places there are scenes in a gay bar. Gene and Claudia have an "open marriage". The book is full of one-night stands, dishonesty and people justifying their actions.

Most of this book I listened to on audio CD. It was nice to hear the Australian accent in this story which is set primarily in Australia.

Discussion Questions

Does it make sense that a meticulous scientist such as Don should drink so much and risk losing control?

What was the right answer at the end of Chapter 17?

Don said he was feeling overwhelmed, partly due to rejection by Bianca (p. 149-150) but a few pages before (p. 146-147) seemed to imply that Don had ruined the dance intentionally - as if he had rejected her. What really happened here?

In Chapter 21 Don decided not to test Margaret Case (p. 178). Why?

How frustrated were you when Don went back to his hotel room and 43 minutes later things had changed?

Did you have any suspects as to who the father was? Were you satisfied at the outcome?

On p. 279 it sounds like Don realizes he is an Aspie. When did he realize he was on the spectrum?

Theme Ideas

Have an ice cream taste test, perhaps blindfolded, to see if participants can tell the difference between apricot, peach and mango flavors. (p. 5)

Calculate your BMIs. Give a prize to the person with the best BMI.

Get the "Bartender's Companion" and make a variety of cocktails.

Serve lobster salad and Drappier Rose champagne. (p. 295)