The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

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I loved The Rosie Project which I reviewed last year and was my top 5 reads of 2014. So when this book came out it was a must read for me and I was looking forward to finding out what Don Tillman was doing now.

Don has married Rosie and we follow their life in New York. They have settled into life well, compromised on some things like the food plans and have a social life too. But when Rosie gets pregnant, life changes for everyone.

Don is as sweet as ever, so caring in his own helpful way and as with The Rosie Project there are some classic funny moments in the story. He is shocked when Rosie springs her pregnancy on him and has what he calls a ‘meltdown’. But he deals with it in the way he knows how by reading up on babies. I found it so touching that he was scared but willing to be a good father and support Rosie. He also supported the problems his friends were going through and I could see in this story that Don had really developed as a character to someone we really care about and wanted to be happy. Nothing fazes Don either – the cocktail bar incident is an example and also the fact he hangs out with a global band member which made some moments funny too.

I found Rosie annoying in this story. She was selfish, rude, very mean to Don and such an unlikable character compared to the Rosie we met in The Rosie Project. It was like her pregnancy completely changed her and whilst underneath she has physiological issues and doubts about Don being a father she was just mean. It made me so annoyed how she shut Don out of her life, stopped appreciating him and basically broke their marriage up. Rosie forgot she married him for who he was and what made her fall in love with him. But despite her doubts she never gave him a chance to be supportive even though he was trying to and was so selfish to think that having a baby only affects her. I felt so sorry for Don and was urging him to really make her listen, tell her she was being unfair and make her release how selfish she was being. They were a team before but it stopped in this book.

The main theme of this story is having children and it covers all the aspects of people dealing with fatherhood, motherhood, family, marriage, support and deep physiological issues. Overall everyone has issues to deal with but the important thing is how they dealt with them. Whilst we are supporting Don in his research of being supportive of Rosie and how to be a good father, he is subconsciously learning from his friends’ problems and solutions to them. Gene’s children won’t talk to him as parent separation is difficult, Dave is scared of being a father as the baby doesn’t have his genes and hides his business issues, Sonia helps Don out in a counselling session but really puts across her fears about Dave, and finally George has difficult relationship with his son. Don helps all his friends supportively despite his own issues. His friends’ issues are in contrast to what Don is going through with Rosie but illustrate his good qualities and that he can be supportive, has a heart and on one level can work on relationship issues and family issues to try and solve them. It is a shame Rosie doesn’t see any of this and doesn’t even take an interest to see what is actually happening in real life around her.

Overall I was disappointed with this book. I wanted it to be so much better than it was. Don is a great character but sometimes even the funny parts seemed a bit lacking. Also Rosie seemed a very different person to the Rosie we had met before and that for me took away from the theme of this book.

Despite my disappointment, for me Graeme is a talented writer. I was lucky to meet Graeme in March at a book signing in London and he was so passionate about writing. His style is so easy to read and this story could be reality. We believe in his characters and want to get to know them which is great. So this book won’t put me off reading any of his future books.

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