The Rosie Effect, by Graeme Simsion
I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley. All content and opinions are my own.
The Rosie Project was my first book read of 2014. And, with gratifying symmetry, exactly 364 days later I read The Rosie Effect. Both books, I must say, are delightful. Some minor spoilers for The Rosie Project are necessary in the review below.
In this installment, married Rosie and Don have relocated from Australia to New York, so Rosie can finish her studies at Columbia. She is simultaneously working on an MD and a Ph.D, while Don works as a professor at Columbia. They live in a small apartment and work together part-time at a cocktail bar. They’ve established a nice rhythm, but all of that is about to change.
I love the narrative voice of the main character, Don Tillman. He’s a successful professor of genetics, and he probably falls somewhere on the high-functioning/Asperger’s side of the autism spectrum. Thus, the way he views the world is substantially different from the way most people see it. Simsion is able to capture this difference without making it feel “other.” In fact, it is engaging and funny and real.
Since the day Rosie and I participated in a wedding ceremony in a chruch in memory of Rosie’s atheist mother’s Irish ancestry–with her father, Phil, performing a “giving away” ritual that surely violated Rosie’s feminist philosophy, Rosie wearing an extraordinary white dress and veil that she planned never to use again, and escaping having chopped-up colored paper thrown over us only because of a (sensible) regulation–I had learned that, in marriage, reason frequently had to take second place to harmony. I would have agreed to the confetti if it had been permitted.
The character of Don was what stood out to me when I read The Rosie Project, and I was pleased to get to spend more time in his head. The story is certainly engaging as well. I did have some issues with Rosie’s portrayal as an unreasonable, irrational pregnant woman (who purposely stopped taking birth control without discussing it with her husband). But seeing the world from Don’s point of view may have affected that choice, at least in part. Also, all of the supporting characters are fun and kind. And I’m always happy to read a well-written book about a married couple (rather than just their courtship).
The bottom line: if you liked The Rosie Project, you’ll like this one.