The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

published 2013   chapter 6

[Narrator Don Tillman has been caught out by the dress code - Gentlemen are required to wear a jacket - at an expensive restaurant]

My Gore-Tex jacket, the high-technology garment that had protected me in rain and snowstorms, was being irrationally, unfairly and obstructively contrasted with the official’s essentially decorative woollen equivalent. I had paid $ 1,015 for it, including $ 120 extra for the customised reflective yellow. I outlined my argument. ‘My jacket is superior to yours by all reasonable criteria: impermeability to water, visibility in low light, storage capacity.’ I unzipped the jacket to display the internal pockets and continued, ‘Speed of drying, resistance to food stains, hood …’

The official was still showing no interpretable reaction, although I had almost certainly raised my voice. ‘Vastly superior tensile strength …’ To illustrate this last point, I took the lapel of the employee’s jacket in my hands. I obviously had no intention of tearing it but I was suddenly grabbed from behind by an unknown person who attempted to throw me to the ground. I automatically responded with a safe, low-impact throw to disable him without dislodging my glasses.

observations: Don is going for his first date with the titular Rosie, and it is not going well so far. The reader assumes that Don has Asperger’s, and his commitment to literalness, logic and what he thinks is rationality are working against his plan to find a wife. As he says:
For a few moments, I was overwhelmed by the sheer unreasonableness of the situation. I was already under stress, preparing for the second encounter with a woman who might become my life partner.

-- but when Rosie turns up at the restaurant, things will start to look up, though they have a long way to go.

This is a romcom with an unusual male protagonist. There’s not much in it that is not predictable, but it is very amusing along the way, and rather charming. He dances with a skeleton, checks himself out on a post-natal-depression questionnaire, and responds to ‘tell me about it’ in an entirely guessable way.

Don helps Rosie to look for her genetic father, because
It’s critical for parents to be able to recognise their own children. So they can protect the carriers of their genes. Small children need to be able to locate their parents to get that protection.

- and there are some interesting comments in the book about parents, children, and the affection between them. But on the whole this is a lightweight book, with some echoes of  Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

I tried to find a picture of a $1000 Gore-Tex jacket, but it was hard: assuming it’s Australian dollars, that’s more than 600 English pounds. This one costs a satisfying £360 and is from Columbia Sportswear.

Links on the blog: characters working in a fancy French restaurant, and choosing the right jacket for a NY restaurant. Taking hats to restaurants can be important too.


  1. Moira - I don't usually go for romcoms, but this sounds like a good read. And you gotta love that jacket!

  2. I know what you mean about romcoms, but this one takes a fresh angle, and is very funny....

  3. Loved that scene. And how he muses beforehand that it's a bit warm to be wearing a jacket, but that the restaurant will likely be air-conditioned so it might be reasonably comfortable. Of course he never gets that far...

    Nice book, very unexpected. I don't usually do chick lit/romcom myself, but it came highly recommended and it lived up to the hype.

    1. I feel exactly the same - not my usual kind of book, but I really enjoyed it, and would recommend it to anyone as a light-hearted read.


Post a Comment