Fellowship of the Worms: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

February 10, 2014 Book Club, Romance 32

G’Day Bookworms!

smarty-mcwordypants-199x300It’s that time again. The Fellowship of the Worms is now in session! This month’s selection was The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. WARNING: We will be discussing the WHOLE book. This will no doubt include SPOILERS. If you did not read the book and would like to participate, pick up a copy of The Rosie Project and give it a read. This post will be here waiting for you when you finish. Now that the particulars are out of the way, I’ll remind you of the premise here. I’ll pose questions in bold and answer them in regular type.  If you don’t want your opinions influenced by my rantings, stick to the bold first. Feel free to answer them in the comments, or if you’re so inclined, on your own blog. A linky list will be provided at the end of this post for anybody who has reviewed The Rosie Project on their own blog. Don’t be shy, please link up!

1. Pop Culture question here. Did anybody else get a SERIOUS Sheldon Cooper vibe out of Don? The whole time I was reading this book, I was imagining Don’s mannerisms as those of Dr. Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. I don’t even watch The Big Bang Theory very often, but I could not escape Don’s Sheldon-y qualities.   I tried really hard to break myself of the habit of hearing Don’s dialogue in Sheldon’s voice in my mind’s ear, because I LOVE Australian accents and it seemed a shame to deprive myself of the opportunity to “hear” one just because I’ve been bazinga-ed by pop culture.

sheldon2. Don’s social interactions are awkward at best, but his logic and adherence to routine give him some interesting habits. What’s your favorite Don-ism?

Is it just me, or did Don’s lobster salad sound crazy delicious? Maybe a weekly repeating meal plan is a bit much, but a two-week plan, I could totally get behind. It sounds less intimidating than dealing with “uuuugh what am I going to make for dinner?” on the regular. He might be onto something. I’m just saying.

3. Don’s “Wife Project” involves an elaborate questionnaire designed to weed out unsuitable matches. Have you ever made a list of qualities that are important to you in a potential partner? Do you think it’s realistic to expect any one person to live up to all of them? 

I don’t recall ever making a list of qualities I wanted in a partner… Well. Not a physical list anyway. But sometimes I think people rosieprojectdon’t know what they really NEED. I think that the whole “opposites attract” thing is a cliche and, frankly, pretty inaccurate. BUT there’s a lot to be said for not dating someone who is basically YOU. You need a balance, you know? Don needed to break out of some of his routines, and Rosie needed some structure. Complimentary weirdness can be a good thing.

4. What is it about Rosie that manages to break down Don’s defenses? Do you think that love requires a certain abandonment of logic? 

My husband came home from work the other day with a novel definition of love he’d heard during a work presentation (he works in a hospital, doctors talk about whatever the heck they want to.) He told me that love is the willingness to  support another person’s illusions. That’s not a fuzzy warm romantic definition, but I think it works. I mean, you’ve got to be willing to take the other person’s weird and roll with it. Rosie was able to get through some of Don’s quirks and appreciate his soft underbelly. Don looked beyond Rosie’s hotness and into her brain because that’s all he could think to do. Sometimes love just works, and it’s rarely a purely logical proposition.

5. What was your favorite scene in The Rosie Project?

I’ve got a tie here. The scene where Don deliberately throws his dance with Bianca thrilled me. I was able to envision the whole debacle and it was hilarious and cringe-inducing in equal measures. I ALSO simply ADORED the scene where Don and Rosie provided cocktails for the medical school reunion. I laughed so hard when Don was offering all these elaborate drinks he’d studied while the bar staff had no idea how to prepare them. A pineapple and sage margarita. Who knew, right?

Have you reviewed The Rosie Project on your blog, or tackled these discussion questions on your own? Please link up, I’m dying to know your thoughts!

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32 Responses to “Fellowship of the Worms: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion”

  1. Ashley Z

    I loved this book. Not your normal every day love story, but it totally worked!
    So, I think I’m the only person who doesn’t watch The Big Bang Theory so I guess I’ll leave question 1 to the masses.

    2- I would love to have the exercise routine that Don has! The discipline! I would be in astonishing shape if I had his routine!

    3- I think I’ve made lists of potential love matches. Like in middle school! You remember playing MASH? I need to marry a millionaire who has a mansion and drives a nice car! hahahaha. So shallow! Anywho-I think people have lists in their heads of what they look for in a mate. Its nice to think about what you want, but the reality turns out a lot better (In my happily married life anyways!)

    4-I think the fact that Rosie is nothing Don is “looking for” is what helps their relationship. I felt like a big attraction to Don was that he was the one trying to “fix” her other than her trying to fix him. All his life he was used to family and friends and shrinks telling him what was “wrong” with him. With Rosie the tables were turned a bit. Rosie also let Don’s quirks roll off her. She was probably the only person In Don’s life that took Don for who he was.

    5- I thought the scene of Don and Rosie’s first date was hilarious. Don refers to it as the “jacket incident” I think.

    Good pick! Can’t wait to read the next!

    • Words For Worms

      Oh man, the exercise! Yes! I wish I had that discipline. He’s so nonchalant about it too. Like “oh yeah, I could kick your butt with my martial arts skills. I won’t because that would be illogical, but I could.”

  2. Darlene

    Not only did I have a few qualities that my husband must have for me to marry him, I also had a few rules for him.:)

    First, the qualities:
    1. He absolutely needed to share my faith, at a committed level close to mine.
    We don’t need to see all things the same, but we need to have the same filter. A general world view that is similar. I think most people look for this, whether the filter is their faith or any other way they view the world.

    2. He needed to be smart financially. Not rich, just smart about money, cause, I need that to balance my money ways. That is so not the funnest way to live, but we’ve always had money for the bills and groceries, so as far as WE can control it, I needed a guy good with money.

    3. I needed someone who could demonstrate his affection for me, even in public, at a moment’s notice, when I needed it. And I don’t need that too often, but if I’m feeling insecure, I need him to help out with that by demonstrating his connection to me and acceptance of me. That really only started out in the beginning by him just telling me he loved me when I needed it, but over time has morphed into other ways.

    And, I think these are reasonable to keep up with, but I am wise enough to know, and have been married long enough to know, people change, their needs change….stuff can change.

    The Rules:
    1. He could never say, “That’s not the way my mom makes it.”
    2. There are a few words that I hate, some just typical bodily function words, that I’d like him not to use. When the kids discovered some of these, they had a ball with them.
    3. I did not want him to pass gas around me, in the same room or whatever.
    I must say, that as difficult as that could be, he really has upheld that request very well, with only a few mishaps….

    And lucky for me, he didn’t have any rules for me.:)

  3. TJ

    1. I have never watched The Big Bang Theory either, so I can’t comment on that. Interestingly, Don didn’t have an Australian accent in my head. That’s too bad; I like that accent as well.
    2. I also liked his standardized meals, especially after finding out that he was jogging through the market while buying the standard ingredients.
    3. Yep, I did have a wishlist in my head, but I knew that it was unreasonable to expect anyone to live up to everything I was expecting. So despite the wishlist, I was ready to compromise. It worked out pretty well for me.
    4. I think the fact that neither Don nor Rosie expected anything from each other at the beginning worked to their advantage. They had a common goal in their work on The Father Project, which made them spend time together and get to know each other without any pressure. I thought it was sweet that Rosie was so unimpressed by Don’s transformation into the hero of every successful romance and wanted the “real” Don back. And yes, I do believe love requires the abandonment of logic to a certain degree.
    5. I really enjoyed their entire trip to New York City: no more tips for improvement for the airline, a special visa to leave immigration alone, learning baseball in 162 minutes (impressive! It took me about 3 years…), the speed-walk through the Museum of Natural History. I was giggling a lot during this part of the book, although the cocktail party was fun as well. Not many people would consider giving up a career in genetics to run a cocktail bar instead!

  4. kristinshafel

    Well, you already know I wasn’t crazy about The Rosie Project—just had too much trouble suspending my disbelief and it’s clear to me anyway that romantic comedies aren’t my jam. But! I do love a lively discussion!

    1. Never seen The Big Bang Theory, didn’t even know about the TV show, in fact. I kept seeing reviews comparing Rosie Project to it and I was confused, like… the origin of the universe forming? Really? Ha!

    2. Gotta agree with Ashley Z up there, have the discipline to exercise would be awesome. I’d hate to be so rigid about anything, though, and I dated a guy who fell in love with the gym a little ways into the relationship and it annoyed me.

    3. I’ve never made a list, really, but I tend to gravitate towards creative types, especially musicians (like me), but temperamentally different. I agree with you—balance is key, complementary, not matching or complete opposites. Being with someone just like you is a drag.

    4. Don couldn’t fit Rosie into a neat little defined box and simply discard her. She was relentless and challenged him (via the Father Project), and obviously he likes a challenge. Once the pressure was off, it allowed him to get to know her beyond the superficial qualities he had listed on his questionnaire. There’s more to a woman than whether or not she smokes cigarettes, you know!

    5. I also thought the bartending scene was one of the best!

  5. Kristina

    Starting out, I did not think I was going to be able to make it through this book. I was probably a third of the way through before Don’s speech cadence stopped driving me batty! And I have to admit that it probably wasn’t until the New York trip that I really realized that they were in Australia… oops!

    1. YES!!! Once his speech patterns stopped making me crazy, though, I think I stopped “hearing” Sheldon as much.

    2. I liked his food patterns too! You would think that he would stick with simple things like bologna sandwiches on white bread or something like that, so I thought it was funny that he went with these gourmet-sounding meals. His attitudes about alcohol intake also cracked me up!

    3. No, I’ve never made a list, but I think whether it’s realistic for a person to live up to your list depends on how long and how detailed the list is. Don’s was definitely too long and way too specific. I think it’s probably good to have an idea about what qualities you like or don’t like in a person, but I believe it’s the way all of a person’s quirks come together that determine their actual personality and how you will respond to them.

    4. Love definitely requires abandonment of logic!

    5. I think my favorite scene was the cocktail party, too! I was surprised at how much he excelled from the viewpoint of the guests, but I guess the fascination with his cocktail knowledge outweighed his personality quirks. Or maybe the fascination with his knowledge allowed people to look past his other personality quirks.

    I ended up really enjoying this book, so thanks for picking it!

    • Words For Worms

      I always have that problem with settings, particularly with Australia. I always by default assume books are set in the US until someone starts talking about “crisps” and then I immediately assume England. Poor Australia. It’s one of my favorite places and I can never figure out when books are set there!

    • Beth

      Don’t worry, Kristina! You are not alone in being oblivious to the fact that it was set in Australia for most of the book. I had the same issue! Now I’m wondering if others have the same problem with books set in the U.S.?

  6. Kelly from Readlately.com

    I don’t even want to answer your questions, because I love your answers so much! I didn’t think of it as I was reading but YES! Don is soo Sheldon! My husband loves The Big Bang Theory (he’s geeky that way) so I’ve watched quite a few episodes. I wonder if Sheldon was an influence for the author as well? (Do they have The Big Bang Theory in Australia?)

    My favorite part of the book was when Don leaves the book of sex positions open on the floor during a crucial funding moment…and then walks over to Rosie while she’s with some other guy and goes “I am accepting your offer of sex” or something like that and then Rosie goes “It was a joke…” and he leaves so confused. I laughed out loud then and then it to my husband.

    I think Rosie was incredibly real and down to earth and not one to be swayed by Don’s own perceptions of himself. She actually falls in love with him pretty early and it’s all just a matter of him catching up to her and doing something about it. I loved the way she opened up his world, expanded his parameters and just made everything possible. His transformation was wonderful.

    I hope you’ll stop by and read my thoughts!

    • Words For Worms

      Kelly, I loved your post! So great! I’m surprised by how many people don’t know Sheldon Cooper, that show is EVERYWHERE in syndication. Oh my word, the sex positions. I almost died. I mean, I blushed a lot on Don and Rosie’s behalf. And then shook my head sadly.

  7. Megan M.

    I thought The Rosie Project was sweet. It reminded me a lot of The Mirror Has Two Faces, with Barbra Streisand.

    1. In a way? I’ve seen enough depictions of Asperger-y characters that there’s no one strong association for me, but it’s hard not to think of Sheldon when you’re talking about rigid schedules and possible asexual/aromance. Poor Amy Farrah Fowler. (Although she finally got a kiss! Wahoo!)

    2. I also loved Don’s cooking schedule and thought it was a bit much for him to get rid of it. I, too, suffer from oh-god-it’s-five-o’clock-what-are-we-having-for-dinner???

    3. I have made lists, but nothing I ever actually compared someone to seriously. It was more like a vision board type thing, just to clarify what I was actually looking for. Funnily enough, right before I started dating my husband I made a list of “dealbreakers” that I’d decided I’d had enough of – and my husband had every single one! (No more older guys, no divorced guys, no guys with kids, no more smokers…) What are you gonna do? The heart wants what it wants. We are very happily married going on six years now.

    4. It seemed like Don knew subconsciously that he was attracted to Rosie and liked her enough to try to change himself, before he knew it consciously.

    5. I think my favorite scene was probably the cocktail party that Don and Rosie bartended. You were expecting it to go disastrously and then it was just great. And the job offer was like, huh? And then you realize it would be kind of perfect – although I’m glad Don didn’t just abandon science at the end, because that would be unrealistic.

    All in all I thought it was a sweet story and I liked the characters. I hear the author is writing a sequel, I’ll be interested to see what that’s about.

  8. Amy

    AHH I loved this book from start to finish!

    1. I tried SO HARD not to hear Sheldon! I actually heard a lot of Sherlock’s personality slipping in though. They have the same methodical/scientific lifestyle…and soft spots for only certain people.

    2. I liked the food thing too! Maybe not every week, but working running into shopping and always knowing relatively what to buy sounds pretty good to me.

    3. I’ve never made a list, but I think you always have an INKLING of what you might want, and narrow that down as you date people you realize you don’t like. Gotta kiss some frogs to find the prince, is that a saying? Regardless, I don’t think it’s at all realistic to think anyone will live up to every expectation you have.

    4. I think Rosie let him be himself enough for him to let his guard down, and she just encouraged him to have a little more fun. Plus they were working on a project that Don was really comfortable with!

    5. I’m with almost everyone else: my favorite was the bartending scene too!

    • Words For Worms

      I don’t watch Sherlock (I know, I really should) but it’s nice to know Sheldon isn’t the only voice in your head, LOL. I adored your post, Amy, it was wonderful!

  9. Rebecca @ Love at First Book

    Why did I think we were talking about this next Monday? Am I just a crazy person? I think so. . .

    1. Yes, Sheldon allllll the way. I actually kept thinking throughout the book “Would Sheldon rearrange his schedule?” “Would Sheldon do that?” “Is it an accurate character portrayal of Don if Sheldon wouldn’t do it?”

    2. Did you read the acknowledgements/end stuff? The author talks about where he got the lobster salad recipe!!! My favorite Don-ism is the weekly meal planning. He can eat super expensive foods in such a cheap way bc he is super planned out.

    3. No list! I think that’s crazy because people all have faults. . . including the list maker. How would you score on someone else’s list? But it is okay to have a few deal breakers, like how smoking would have been a deal breaker for me!

    4. For the first time ever, a romantic interest didn’t judge Don. Rosie liked Don for who he was, and Don actually liked Rosie for who she was, even though she didn’t fit the profile of the Wife Project.

    5. I love how when that woman at the dinner was telling the guy next to her not to tease Don bc he’s a dumb bar server that he was all like oh here’s some scientific reasoning as to why you are wrong. In yo face!!!

    LOVED this book. I’ll have my review up next week because I’m the person who wrote down next Monday as the chatty day not yesterday 😀

    • Words For Worms

      LOL, I’m so glad you got Sheldon! The only big difference was that Sheldon wants NOTHING romantic to do with poor Amy Farrah Fowler. I didn’t read the acknowledgements, but now I’m curious! I can’t wait to read your full review!

  10. Anna

    1.I see the similarities, yet Sheldon would never fall for Rosie. Amy is too much of a mystery for him. That would almost be like Sheldon falling for Penny. I think of Don reminding more of Bones. He even has a pre-Hodgins Angela.
    2.I like his labeling things “The ____ Project.” It sounds like a massive undertaking instead of just I have to do this.
    3.I have, and it was not that complicated of a list. I do not think that it should be expected for someone to fit every single criterion. That might actually set off warning signs in my brain if they did.
    4.I think Rosie did it because she was unexpected. He was expecting his friend to set him up with the right person, and she was a surprise. I do not really know is it means an abandonment of knowledge.
    5.My favorite scene was the very end. I like how Rosie got her father and her trip. It was a happy ending. Also, I think people should be warned about oversimplified genetics.

  11. Emily Crowe

    I’d not heard of your blog, but then a book blogger whom I follow participated in your Rosie group survey and I joined in. Graeme Simsion came to my bookstore last fall and I asked him tons of questions about Don and the inspiration behind him.

    For those of you who can see Benedict Cumberbatch playing Don, you’re not alone. The author can see it, too!

  12. Megan

    Okay – in the middle of reading this now. THANK you for recommending it. I was laughing hysterically by the 2nd page!

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