Thursday, April 21, 2016

Abducted by the Rosie Project

THE HEADLINE: Man tries to use a survey to find his perfect match

TIME IN CAPTIVITY: I recently read this book for the second time. I'm in two book clubs and sometimes the books overlap. Never have I been more excited to re-read a book than with the Rosie Project! 

When Don decides that it is time he gets married, he uses a very interesting approach towards determining his future wife. Being somewhat socially awkward, which I'll get into more later, he hasn't been too successful in the relationship department. Because he is also highly intelligent he begins "The Wife Project", which will approach the problem scientifically, creating a survey that will help him weed out those who he believed would be "incompatible".

Then he meets Rosie, and just like in every good romantic comedy, she appears to be completely wrong for him! I wonder what will happen next!!!

With Don and Rosie, Graeme Simsion presents a truly refreshing twist on the classic boy meets girl narrative. Don makes several references to the fact that he is "wired differently" and therefore he approaches all situations logically. That leads to one of the most remarkable qualities in the book; the fact that it makes you feel so much without the scenes themselves being weighed down with emotions. At times Don can be blunt and harsh, to the point of embarrassing those he is interacting with and making the reader question the reality of the situations. But, on the whole, I found him to be charming, sincere, and unique.

What I loved most about the book ended up having very little to do with the romance of the story and more to do with the self examination. I enjoyed the time Don spent trying to figure out who would be a good match for him, what qualities he should be looking for. I also appreciated how much Don reflected on his own qualities, the doubts he had about what kind of partner he would be.

The older we get, the more set in our ways we become. It can be harder and harder to find that perfect someone. And it doesn't always help matters that so much of our "dating" life is done online these days. It becomes all too easy to pass on a profile if the person suggests that they listen to different music then you or like a movie that you hated.

The Rosie Project presents an interesting look at the difference between what we think we want, and what we truly desire. While also exploring how much we are willing to adapt our behaviors in order to experience more substantial relationships.

THE ABDUCTOR: The Abductor in the Rosie Project, for me, was so clearly Don Tillman. I read some reviews that mentioned they didn't like the book because of how Don and his autism were presented. And I have to admit that the first time I read this book I questioned the reality of some of the changes Don is able to work through. But what I noticed the second time around is that Don never actually identifies himself as being autistic. He only refers to himself as being "wired differently". He even says this about his condition:

..."depression, bipolar disorder? OCD? and schizophrenia?" The question marks are important: beyond the obvious observation that I was depressed, no definitive diagnosis was ever made...

Don does make references to having "bad times" in his past and his depression. And this is where I think I got confused and maybe others. Don is presented as being extremely rigorous when it comes to his schedule, his activities and his meals. He is also lacking in social skills and empathy. It may come across as if he belongs on the severe side of the autism or aspergers scale, but I don't think he does.

I have struggled with depression all of my life. Depression alone can cause people to be awkward in social situations, to become careful and diligent about the way they spend there days. In the past, when my depression became really bad I had to schedule my day in five minute increments just to keep moving.

I do believe that Don is autistic, but I don't agree that he is on the severe side. I think his autism when coupled with his depression made his behaviors become severe. 

POINT OF ABDUCTION: I fell in love with this book and this character in the scene when he gets the little kids to chant about baby killing. It is such a memorable scene and very early on, so I was pretty much hooked from the start.

Then, in this vanishingly small moment in the history of the universe, she took my hand, and held it all the way to the subway.


I loved it the first time, I still loved it the second time, I can't wait to read it again someday!


Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

Okay, I might have to abduct this book from you sometime!

Court- I loved this review! It's so magical and perfect and made me smile, which I so needed today. ;)

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