Author: Graeme Simsion
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Shelf: Realistic Fiction
THE ROSIE PROJECT WAS COMPLETE BUT I WAS UNPREPARED FOR THE ROSIE EFFECT. GREETINGS. My name is Don Tillman. I am forty-one years old. I have been married to Rosie Jarman, world's most perfect woman, for ten months and ten days. Marriage added significant complexity to my life. When we relocated to New York City, Rosie brought three maximum-size suitcases. We abandoned the Standardised Meal System and agreed that sex should not be scheduled in advance. Then Rosie told me we had 'something to celebrate', and I was faced with a challenge even greater than finding a partner. I have attempted to follow traditional protocols and have sourced advice from all six of my friends, plus a therapist and the internet. The result has been a web of deceit. I am now in danger of prosecution, deportation and professional disgrace. And of losing Rosie forever.
Do you remember me? I remember you. The fun times we had, and the turbulent ones, third parties, fourth, fifth, a hundred asses interrupting, trying to break us up. But after all that we survived, natural course butted in. However, I’m back to make this long-distance digital relationship work, folks. Hope you are still tuned in to my channel after all this while.
“You’re too disorganized to have a baby.”
“And you’re too obsessional. Lucky I’m the one who’s having it.”
The consensus on The Rosie Effect is not good. Or rather, not as good as it had been for its predecessor. I’m here to get a word in edgewise. It’s better. It doesn’t live up to the number of LOL’s The Rosie Project provoked, but it takes a more in-depth and personal look into Rosie and Don’s relationship, and Don himself.
Rosie is pregnant. It is unscheduled. Gene is coming to live with them in New York. A professional opines that Don should never be a father.
It be chaos.
If I remember (somewhat incorrectly maybe) most of the humorous moments in TRP had been at Don’s bumbling self, inability to function as an average human. I’m not taking the high road here: he was funny, if unintentionally. But where TRE differs is that it takes into account how harrowing it can be for someone like Don to be constantly expected to deal with fucking cling wrap.
Perhaps the main reason I like it is because I actually connected with Don, sided with him even when he was wrong because I myself couldn’t perceive it the acceptable way sometimes. Much emotional distress ensued on his part and Rosie’s.
I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. I visualized numbers, alternate sums of cubes behaving with predictable rationality, as they had before humans and emotions, and as they would for all time.
And there’s situational humor in how absolutely ridiculously Don convoluted everything. It was funny!
Don himself receives more character development than he did in the first book, preparing himself to be a father and failing and trying to be the mother and pissing off Rosie and yada yada yada. We also get to see the troubled side of Rosie, on which part I have some misgivings because this aspect was dealt with hurriedly in short instances and Rosie herself seemed to not have grown at all.
But she’s pregnant so what the hell. I haven’t known many pregnant women. My aunt was a while back, but we only saw her occasionally during that time. And I’m sixteen. I’m so totally entitled to have warped opinions on grown-ups and their (responsible) thingies.
And eurgh. I am never getting a woman pregnant, guys. Not that I could if I wanted to since I’m not keen on a sex-change but I just wanted to put it out in the universe in case it had some dice-throwing scheduled for later on.
Back to the Rosie Effect! Rosie and Don (in particular) are given so many chances to sit down and discuss, resolve their issues, save their marriage (gasp! did I mention it was in trouble?) but those two are such nerds. They require spreadsheets.
There is development on the Gene-Rosie front as well. And on the sole-Gene front as well.
Another aspect I appreciated was that while he changed in subtle ways, felt emotions because of the tornado ripping through what had once been his perfect life, he didn’t have a complete personality overhaul, as many other “different” characters are prone to do so (a major peeve in YA dystopian novels). His voice remained the same, its tone and everything.
So while you’re out there wondering whether to give out long-term another go, here’s some advice I can dispense at no cost: don’t worry about that. Instead, go and buy The Rosie Effect. It was a pleasure to read and that sums up all I should’ve said.
“In the end it’ll come down to persuading her you’re… average enough to be a father.”
Review copy provided free of cost and other services I’m not eager to provide. Thank you Simon & Schuster.
(And I can’t tell you how much it means to me that despite my I-dunno-how-long-absence, people are still visiting this site. Thank you so much.)