'The Rosie Project' by Graeme Simsion - Book Club Discussion Questions

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In some ways, by Graeme Simsion is a light, fun read for book clubs that need a break from heavy books. Simsion does, however, give groups plenty to discuss about Asperger syndrome, love and relationships. Hopefully these questions will help you have as much fun discussing the book as I had reading it.

Spoiler Warning: These questions contain details from the end of the novel. Finish the book before reading on.

  1. Don's character is both more aware of some dynamics (social, genetic, etc) and also very oblivious to some of these. Take, for instance, when he is giving the lecture on Asperger syndrome and he says, "A woman at the rear of the room raised her hand. I was focused on the argument now and made a minor social error, which I quickly corrected.
    'The fat woman -- overweight woman -- at the back?'" (10)
    What are some other examples of this kind of behavior that you remember from the novel? How did this add humor?
  2. The reader is supposed to understand that Don has Asperger syndrome. If you know anyone with this diagnosis, did you think it was an accurate portrayal?
  3. There were several times in the novel when Don misses the social rules, but the case he makes for his side is very logical. One example is the "Jacket incident" (43), when he does not understand that "jacket required" means suit jacket and tries to argue all the ways his Gore-tex jacket is superior. Did you find this, and other times like it, amusing? What were some of your favorite scenes? Did hearing his perspective make you rethink social conventions? (Or consider using the standardized meal plan?)
  1. Why do you think Don is so drawn to Rosie? Why do you think Rosie is drawn to Don?
  2. At one point, Don says about one of the father candidates, "Apparently he had been an oncologist but had not detected the cancer in himself, a not-uncommon scenario. Humans often fail to see what is close to them and obvious to others" (82). How does this statement, about people failing to see what is in front of them, apply to the different characters in the novel?
  1. Why do you think Don was so successful at selling cocktails? Did you enjoy this scene?
  2. The novel mentions that Don struggled with depression in his early twenties and also talked about his strained relationship with his family. How did he cope with these issues? Are he and Rosie similar in the ways they deal with hard parts of their past?
  3. What did you think of Gene and Claudia's relationship? Was Gene's behavior humorous or frustrating to you?
  4. Did you think it was believable in the end that Don would be able to see from the Dean's perspective, the perspective of the student who cheated, Claudia's perspective, etc? Why or why not?
  5. Did you guess who Rosie's real father was? Which parts of the Father Project did you like the most (the basement confrontation, the bathroom escape, the trip to the nursing home, etc)?
  6. Graeme Simsion is publishing a sequel to The Rosie Project in December 2014 -- The Rosie Effect. Do you think the story could go on? Would you read the sequel?
  7. Rate The Rosie Project on a scale of 1 to 5.
  • The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion was published in the U.S. in October 2013
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • 304 Pages