After reading The Nest and being burnt badly by a misguided and self-serving marketing campaign, I spent the first few months of 2017 very hesitant to try any sort of popular book lest I be misled into another horrendous mess of a book. I had tried Big Little Lies last summer and it fell flat for me in the first 5%. (Maybe I’ll try it again, but probably not.) However, these two books have been incredibly popular in the last year or so, and the hype and praise is certainly worth it. I couldn’t put either of these down, and I would recommend these to anyone who enjoys reading!
The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion
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.
The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.
This book seemed to be a romance book to me, but after having it recommended to me on numerous occasions on Goodreads and seeing that the reviews came from a wide range of readers, I started to consider it. It was on sale on Kobo for $2.99, a few readers that I respect gave it a fairly high rating, and I needed something to read- enter, The Rosie Project and my next attempt at a popular book. We follow Don Tillman, a slightly robotic and Sheldon Cooper-like academic, as he attempts to logically and methodically find a wife. He meets Rosie, an “unsuitable” but entertaining and engaging bartender. While he doesn’t consider her for The Wife Project, he does spend most of his time with her on another project. Overall, it is predictable but really fun and it’s a different point of view on a very common subject. If you are like me and not a huge romance fan, you don’t have much to worry about- it’s minor and not distracting from the rest of the storyline. (Okay, I have to admit- I may have missed it in the beginning of the book, but I didn’t realise that it takes place in Australia for the most part. So when they are tallking about Victoria, it’s not Victoria, British Columbia…) I am not sure if I will pick up the sequel, The Rosie Effect, but either way, I’m so happy that I took a chance on this!
Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple
Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.
Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.
To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.
This was a book that I borrowed on a whim on the Overdrive app from the library because I wanted something to listen to while I was driving, and I was hooked from the first chapter. It takes place in Seattle which automatically makes me want to read it! If you don’t know, my boyfriend lives in Seattle, and I can picture all of the places that Bernadette, Bee, and everyone else goes. Seattle is an interesting city, it’s a mix of incredibly laid-back with fast paced society types and executives that I’m sure are in every city. Making it the setting allows for a great mix of characters that build the story. However, while Seattle is an important character if you will, Bernadette, Audrey, and Bee are fascinating and complex characters that you instinctively need to know more about.
And finally, my favourite aspect of the book, what sets it apart from most others, the style; this is an adapted/adjusted epistolary, and it adds so much to it. When you are first introduced to Bernadette, it is through emails between other characters which will give you a very distinct impression. However, once you get further, you meet Bernadette through her own correspondence and it’s like it is an entirely separate person. I will admit, I was hesitant but I was sucked in immediately! Also, if you are a Gilmore Girls fan, you will recognise that audiobook narrator: it’s Liz, Luke’s sister!
What is your favourite bestseller that I should be reading?