The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

fpoThe Rosie Project. Finished 1-22-16, rating 4.5/5, fiction, pub. 2013

Unabridged audio read by Dan O’Grady. 7.5 hours

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don’s Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

I’m a Big Bang Theory fan and mother to a boy on the spectrum and I loved this book.  I was afraid to read it, characters on the spectrum make me nervous, wondering if the characterization will make me cry in my bed at night instead of getting what sleep I can.  No worries here though, Don hilariously lectures to a group of Asperger kids about the diagnosis never for a moment making the connection that he is talking about himself.  Somehow the story never laughs at Don, but with him as his quirks and earnest truthiness win the reader over quickly.

Don’s Wife Project leads him on a series of dates, hands full of a 16 pages questionnaire to weed out the  women who were unsuitable (which left about .0001 percent of the population).  When his slimy friend, Gene, sends Rosie to Don, he thinks it’s because Rosie has ‘passed’ the test. Don is looking for a wife and Rosie is looking for her biological father and the two embark on one adventure after another that leads Don to rethink his questionnaire.

I loved this charming love story and fans of The Big Bang Theory will too.  Stories about ‘Aspies’, those intelligent people on the high functioning end of the spectrum, too often make people think most people on the spectrum are this high functioning.  They are not. I do hope my guy will eventually grow up and find someone to love who loves him back, much like Don 🙂  I didn’t care for the ending, I had to go back and listen again to understand what happened, but that’s my only complaint.  I know the movie has been optioned and I’d love to see it on the big screen!

 

I Must Say by Martin Short

fpoI Must Say. Finished 1-12-16, rating 4.75/5, humor memoir, pub. 2014

Unabridged audio read perfectly by Martin Short himself. 8.5 hours

In this engagingly witty, wise, and heartfelt memoir, Martin Short tells the tale of how a showbiz obsessed kid from Canada transformed himself into one of Hollywood’s favorite funnymen, known to his famous peers as the “comedian’s comedian.”

Short takes the reader on a rich, hilarious, and occasionally heartbreaking ride through his life and times, from his early years in Toronto as a member of the fabled improvisational troupe Second City to the all-American comic big time of Saturday Night Live, and from memorable roles in such movies as ¡Three Amigos! and Father of the Bride to Broadway stardom in Fame Becomes Me and the Tony-winning Little Me.

But there is another side to Short’s life that he has long kept private. He lost his eldest brother and both parents by the time he turned twenty, and, more recently, he lost his wife of thirty years to cancer. In I Must Say, Short talks for the first time about the pain that these losses inflicted and the upbeat life philosophy that has kept him resilient and carried him through.   from Goodreads

I need to say right off the bat that I’ve long been a fan.  His energy is infectious and because of that I think you must listen to this one.  Short is funny and sweet and you will love him.  And if you aren’t familiar with Martin Short I think you should still pick this one up.  Honestly, I laughed out loud and I cried for this man who, while bringing so much light to others, has dealt with deaths that came too soon.

Short grew up just outside of Toronto and during his senior year of college he decided to give comedy a year to see if he could make it.  He landed a role in Godspell with his BFF Eugene Levy and met Paul Shaffer, Gilda Radnor and a slew of other Canadian pranksters: John Candy, Dan Ackroyd, Catherine O’Hara… I had no idea that so many successful comics started there and worked together at the same time.   He landed a gig on Saturday Night Live that made him both a household name and miserable.  He was lucky to last a year but it did get him to the big time.

His memoir also spans his Hollywood years (Three Amigos, Father of the Bride) and the many friendships he formed there.  The spark he is on screen must carry over to real life because he has maintained friendships from the Toronto years (Levy & Shaffer) while becoming close with Tom Hanks, Steve Martin, and Kurt Russell and other famous pals.  Actually it was him talking about these friendships and the love that he had for his wife of 30 years that enabled me to see a new side to Short, a genuine guy who loves and is loved

He is so upbeat that you will love his life story and the interludes with his most famous characters.  As optimistic as he is, the part of the book dealing with his wife’s cancer will leave you in tears.  Tears that I didn’t mind because they were part of his story.