Anyone who’s ever been in love knows that the feeling can’t be accounted for with a formulaic equation. Sure, there are pheromones, and genetics, and, I’m sure a fair amount of biology involved, but true love requires chemistry – and not the kind with the periodic table.
This was knowledge that Don Tillman lacked when setting out to find a wife. As a professor of genetics, Don was accustomed to using charts and data to inform his decisions. As a socially awkward adult who felt it likely that he was struggling with undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome and OCD, he was likewise used to navigating all avenues of his life in a very precise, calculated, and logical fashion.
In “The Rosie Project,” by Graeme Simsion, we meet Don, as he embarks on his journey to find someone to share his life. Lacking innate social skills, yet determining that he is also lacking the companionship of a mate, Don devises a plan to help him remedy the situation – the “Wife Project.”
Comprised of a sixteen page, double-sided survey, the project is designed to help Don weed out potential mates who possess certain undesirable tendencies, such as drinking, smoking, or a propensity for tardiness.
Of course, as luck, and the laws of romantic comedies would have it, Don meets Rosie, a student and bartender, who, while being “quite intelligent for a barmaid,” is someone the sixteen page doozy of a questionnaire would weed out fairly quickly.
After agreeing to use his expertise in the area of genetics to help Rosie find her biological father (the “Father Project”), Don is forced to confront the fact that perhaps life doesn’t unfold in quite so logical a way after all, leading him to discover that perhaps the project he should be focusing on is Rosie herself.
Graeme Simsion had enjoyed a full and successful career before reinventing himself as a writer. When he sold his data management firm, Simsion Bowles and Associates, he had amassed a staff of 70, was operating in three cities, and had developed an international reputation, as his was considered the standard in data modeling.
He has been a Senior Research Fellow at Melbourne University, and in 2007, he completed his PhD in information systems.
Upon finishing his doctorate degree, Simsion enrolled in a professional screenwriting course at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and began making short films.
Originally written as a screenplay, “The Rosie Project” won the Australian Writers Guild/Inscription Award for Best Romantic Comedy Script in 2010. While waiting for production to take place, Simsion decided to re-tool the manuscript, making it into a novel, and the rest, as they day, is history.
This month, Simsion’s adventures will bring him to Newport Beach, as he visits the Newport Beach Public Library to discuss the journey that led to “The Rosie Project.”
He will appear at the Central Library as part of the Library Live series on Tuesday, June 17. The event is free, however advance reservations are recommended, and a $10 donation at the door is suggested.
Seating will begin at 6:30 p.m., with any unclaimed seats being released at 7 p.m. The program will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m., followed immediately by book sales and signing, as well as a coffee reception.
For more information, or to reserve seats, please visit nbplfoundation.org, or call (949_ 548-2411.
So, while everyone else is crying along with Hazel and Gus while watching “The Fault in Our Stars,” come welcome Simsion instead, as he visits from Down Under, and get a jump start on the next big thing in literary love stories – Dan and Rosie from “The Rosie Project.”
Edie Crabtree is an avid reader and the mother of three active boys. She can be reached at [email protected]