The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
“Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are back. The Wife Project is complete, and Don and Rosie are happily married and living in New York. But they’re about to face a new challenge because— surprise!—Rosie is pregnant. Don sets about learning the protocols of becoming a father, but his unusual research style gets him into trouble with the law. Fortunately his best friend Gene is on hand to offer advice: he’s left Claudia and moved in with Don and Rosie. As Don tries to schedule time for pregnancy research, getting Gene and Claudia to reconcile, servicing the industrial refrigeration unit that occupies half his apartment, helping Dave the Baseball Fan save his business, and staying on the right side of Lydia the social worker, he almost misses the biggest problem of all: he might lose Rosie when she needs him the most.1”
I jumped right into The Rosie Effect after finishing The Rosie Project. I did not read the above description before reading the book and was therefore more surprised by all events inclusive.
Don Tillman is indeed back with all the odd situations that seem to follow in his wake. Although it is assumed that Don has a form of Aspergers syndrome, neither book gives a definite answer. I have never met anyone with the syndrome and did not research the syndrome prior to reading the novels so I had no identifying information. The first book does give a list of possible personality traits but they are only so helpful. I found Simsion vamped up Don’s possible “symptoms” of Aspergers in The Rosie Effect. There is a lot more going on with multiple levels of situations which causes the reader to view more reactions of Don’s during these situations.
The following is a quote from The Rosie Effect towards the end of the book which solidifies that if Don does indeed have Asperger’s he is completely unawares.
Chpt 38: “…Can I just say that Don’s example has helped me overcome a…prejudice. Thank you, Don. Lydia’s testimony was a little less emotional, which was a relief. I was surprised that my arguments had persuaded her of the acceptability of eating unsustainable seafood.”
This may not make sense if you have not read the book but believe me it is funny and shows that Don does not associate himself with any type of syndrome and instead his first thought is the fault of others rather than consider the issue may have been himself.
Don and Rosie have moved to New York and with a baby on the way, they find their living situation to be quite interesting. Rosie is attempting to take on a large workload at school to try and complete as much of her studies prior to the arrival of the baby. At Rosie’s request, Don avoids relaying technical information to Rosie and therefore seems less involved. Creating in depth diagrams and research into the Baby Project, Don explores an immense number of situations all a result of his lack of social skills. While strange situations occur, Don tries to limit the amount of stress for Rosie, while the secrets become a tangled web. Throw in a familiar face as a roommate and you got yourself a mess of stress.
With the addition of a new location, there are also new characters. There are a few mentioned in the first novel that help introduce us to the new additions. Naturally they become connected in surprising and humorous ways.
Unfortunately for the character of Rosie, The Rosie Effect has not improved my opinion of her. In fact, my opinion has dropped considerably against her. Understandably she is going through a strange and difficult time and her hormones are running wild; however, her reactions to Don’s attempts and even Don himself make me dislike her even further. There are hormones, then there is just being a…
The Rosie Effect seems to follow in the same path as the first. There are humour moments throughout the novel, along with the usual strange occurrences. They also end in a rush within the last few pages. Once again we see Rosie trying to change Don instead of focusing on her own issues. Instead she goes to the extreme and puts their relationship to the test. Although there are certain aspects of Don’s personality that contribute to many of Rosie’s actions, for someone in psychology she prefers to defer communication and do whatever she wants. At times it seems like she is doing the opposite of what is expected of her just so she prove to herself that she is in control.
Now that I am getting off topic… Thankfully both books are out and you can cruise through them without the awkward wait time. For some books, I believe the wait time can actually kill the chances of reading a sequel. If The Rosie Effect was not out immediately after I read The Rosie Project, I imagine it would have been put to the bottom of my ever growing reading lists and more important books may have trumped it.
Both are great books reads at a decent length. They are filled with humour and also make you think. The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect are definitely worth checking out.
1. Book summary courtesy of Simon and Schuster book page