The Rosie Effect - Graeme Simsion

I have to agree with some of what has been said about this book online – that, after the fun of The Rosie Project, this was a little more serious than I expected or maybe even wanted. I read these two back to back, so the shine was still on the first when I began the second. The lightheartedness of the “project” seems a little lost on this one, and I was sad to see it go.

 

I don’t want to spoil anything, but there were threads of this story that simply did not make sense for me. The obvious one would be, if Rosie thought that Don could not be a partner for the long haul of marriage and children, why did she bother to marry him in the first place? There are major plot points that hinge on this, and Rosie’s actions seemed out of character as compared with her depiction in the first book. It’s almost as if someone told Simsion that the people in his first book were just too nice, so he needed to rough them up a bit.

 

Still, for me, Don is a perfect character. He puts everything out there, and I feel like we are unquestionably inside his head. There are new characters introduced in this book, and for the most part they are a welcome addition, serving as foils to Don’s mostly unintended humor. I was disappointed with Rosie in this one; I felt as if Simsion made her mean-spirited, and sometimes, just plain mean. As a romantic comedy, this delivered a lot more sadness and tension than I wanted. The relationship that seemed awkward and new and wonderful in the first book seemed to disintegrate into something stilted and irritating in the second, without any real defined cause. Little things contributed to this feeling, like when Don and Rosie referred to each other as their “partner”, as opposed to husband or wife. But yes, you know it’s going to be a happy ending – I can ‘t be spoiling anything there, that’s why we read books like this, isn’t it? But still, the only reason anything is a surprise in the end is that it doesn’t really all add up.

 

Don’t get me wrong; I do not regret reading this book. In fact, I could read the random thoughts of Don Tillman all day. When he reflects on the difference he can make in the world by his work alone, it is a moving, heartfelt, thing of beauty. I could have read the book just for that moment and it would have been enough.