On the first night of the 24th Annual Travel Writers and Photographers Conference at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA, I sat down for dinner at a large table. To my right at the end was Maureen Wheeler, one of the co-founders of Lonely Planet. For those who sat in her immediate vicinity she talked about how she and her husband sold that company and started another one in Australia. Maureen shared how one of the books she published was The Rosie Project and she raved about it. I asked her what made that book in particular stand out to her. She smiled and said how funny it was when she read it. Sony Pictures has since optioned for a screenplay and Jennifer Lawrence will apparently play Rosie. The book was written by Graeme Simsion; The Rosie Project is his first novel. I had to limit my book purchases for the month and chose it among my short stack. On the last day of the conference I approached Maureen, showed her my copy of the book, and asked her to sign it as the first publisher.
In the comfort of my home I started to read The Rosie Project. On page 2 I laughed. By page 7 I cried happy tears and had to stifle my laughter in bed because it was late at night and I didn’t want to disturb my neighbors. This book is everything Maureen said it was and I, too, fell in love with it. The writing is tight, funny, and warm and I felt compassion for its lead character, Don Tillman, who wants what anybody wants in life — to be accepted and loved for who he is. Anytime Rosie was on the page I could see Jennifer Lawrence playing the part. Towards the end of the book I slowed down my pace because I didn’t want to leave Don and Rosie’s world. My only complaint about the book was the last chapter. I had to reread it a few times to figure out exactly what happened. For giggles, I did an internet search on that chapter. Turns out several other readers had the same initial confusion. Despite that rather small complaint, The Rosie Project is a delightful read. Bravo to Mr. Simsion on his first novel. I would highly recommend this book.
Addendum after I shared this review on Twitter: