I am in publishing. Inasmuch as an entry-leveler like me can be. Over the weekend I applied to a job at Random House (big deal). And in preparation for their call (unlikely), I decided that I needed to brush up on the books that the imprint focuses on and my reader’s reports (and a new blog series was born!).
For those who are unfamiliar, a reader’s report is a report that an editorial assistant will write on a recently submitted manuscript as part of their weekly tasks. This reader’s report is for editors who are too busy to read the manuscript. In a way, an EA will help the editor to decide whether or not to acquire the book. Basic information is given like a complete summary of the plot, a critique, overall conclusion, positioning, comparative titles, and the jacket copy. In order to be hired as an editorial assistant at a certain imprint, you not only have to know the imprints titles, but also comparative titles. I definitely need more practice writing them since I work in medical publishing, where they are unnecessary. Since reader’s reports are generally more comprehensive, the one’s on my blog will be shorter and not contain spoilers for those who have not read the books! I am definitely open to critique, so comment away!
Reader’s Report: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, Simon & Schuster, October 1, 2013.
***** 5 stars out of 5
It is the story of an organized and emotionally distant professor of genetics, Don Tillman, who starts his search for a life partner in the form of “The Wife Project.” Through a self-made questionnaire he meets many women who could be life mates, but most are unsuited for life long partnership, including the straight-forward, no nonsense, psychology PhD candidate, Rosie Jarman. After their first date, Rosie confesses that she is adopted and in search of her real father. Even though Don doesn’t see Rosie as a potential mate, as a geneticist, Don offers his assistance in figuring out Rosie’s paternity. Since he has eliminated Rosie as a potential wife, he continues to search for women who fit his criteria with the help of his friend, a “Casanova” psychology professor. A whirlwind of DNA collecting scenarios, including moonlighting as a cocktail waiter, creating a fake DNA project, and scaling a wall during a trip to New York City, plus Don’s own self-realizations of his feelings culminate into Don falling for Rosie (and she for him). Conflict arises when Don misinterprets Rosie’s basic social cues that she is interested in a romantic relationship. More severely, Don has to deal with the consequences of using the University’s lab equipment as his personal use for “The Father Project.” Ultimately, the author resolves all miscommunications and places the two love birds in a new setting to start their lives together. The ending was romantic, sweet, and charming.
One of the funniest books I’ve read in a long time. The Rosie Project is a romantic comedy in book form. It was hilariously put together and the pacing was quick. Don has Asperger’s, but does not realize it, which causes some awkward, but funny scenes. A lot of the time, it may go unnoticed to Don, but Simpson is able to imply a lot of information with Don’s lack of understanding. This book was originally written as a screenplay and I can see how easy it would be to adapt it to the screen. Many of the scenes are filled with action or good screen imagery. A scene that comes to mind is Rosie and Don’s first date where Don uses his skills in Akido to subdue a security guard at a restaurant. I imagine that it won’t be long before it is adapted for the big screen. Some criticism: I do wish that I got more of Rosie’s perspective. Since the book was in Don’s perspective, it was difficult to actually gage her interest in him. Rosie was the object of Don’s affection the whole book, but it took a really long time for Don to realize that he was capable of affection, which slowed their romantic relationship down and allowed Rosie to become a friend. Also, it was not entirely clear on the subplot of Don’s married friends Gene and Claudia, until the end when I understood that their open marriage was not working.
Overall, I enjoyed the book immensely. It was hilarious and well written. It is definitely a book to acquire if I were developing my own list. There was a hole in my book-heart for a funny novel and I am glad that The Rosie Project was able to fill it. This was a fantastic debut novel. The back matter suggests that there might be a sequel, so I will stay tuned for that (hopefully it won’t take 6+ years to write!).
50 First Dates meets He’s Just Not That Into You
Neanderthal Seeks Human: A Smart Romance, by Penny Reid (March 13, 2013), Carped Publishing. ISBN 9780989281003. “There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn’t know how to knit. After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can’t help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan- aka Sir McHotpants- witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can’t afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can’t refuse.” –Goodreads
In Graeme Simsion’s hilarious debut novel, The Rosie Project we meet genetics professor Don Tillman, who is looking for his ideal life-mate, a wife. She must meet his every qualification, from efficient time management to answering “moderate social drinker” on his “Wife Project” questionnaire. But when his best friend and fellow professor sends an unsolicited candidate, Rosie Jarman, to his doorstep he is stunned and quickly asks her on a first date. Don is not attuned to social graces, since he has Aspbergers, and when the date goes awry, Rosie finds a way to rescue it. Even though Don eliminates Rosie from the “Wife Project” for her uncouth habits like smoking and being a vegetarian, he likes her as a friend and chooses to help Rosie find her biological father. Before long, this straight-laced professor is breaking all his self-imposed rules, changing his entire routine, and learning what it means to fall in love.