Saturday, October 19, 2013

"The Rosie Project"

Graeme Simsion is a former IT consultant with an international reputation. His screen adaptation of The Rosie Project won the Australian Writers Guild/Inscription Award for Best Romantic Comedy Script. Simsion lives in Australia with his wife, Anne, and their two children, and is currently working on a sequel to The Rosie Project.

Simsion applied the Page 69 Test to The Rosie Project and reported the following:
Not this page! When The Rosie Project was reviewed on a national television book-club program in Australia, just after its publication, only one panelist had reservations – and this was the page she cited. “We’ve seen this joke before,” was the essence of her problem with it. Man walks into gay bar, doesn’t realize where he is or what’s going on.

I’ll concede it’s not the funniest scene in the book, but it isn’t meant to be. The fact that there is any comedy at all as we walk our protagonist to a meeting with Rosie is because there’s comedy wherever Don Tillman goes. Much of it is observational, but Don Tillman isn’t a stand-up comedian pretending he doesn’t get what’s going on and asking us to play along – Don Tillman really doesn’t get it.

The Rosie Project is about a highly-intelligent but socially-challenged genetics professor who sets out to find a partner, scientifically. His quest takes him beyond the world of academe and a regimented solo life in which he has become comfortable. A gay bar – and even nightlife – is foreign to him. How he sees and deals with that foreignness and how others deal with him is what the book is about. I’ve tried to follow my comedy mentor Tim Ferguson’s advice to “make ‘em laugh, make ‘em cry, make ‘em think.”

And, while I wouldn’t hold page 69 up as the funniest or most moving or insightful in the book, it’s representative of Don Tillman’s voice and of the tone of the story. If you can cope with this page, I think you’ll enjoy the rest.
Learn more about the book and author at Graeme Simsion's website and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: The Rosie Project.

--Marshal Zeringue