Graeme Simsion, The Rosie Effect
***Warning: SPOILERS for The Rosie Project***
Genetics professor Don Tillman and his wife Rosie are finally beginning to acclimate to their new life in New York. Don is a visiting professor at Columbia, and Rosie is enrolled in their medical school. Their biggest problem is that their laundry was accidentally dyed by a careless neighbor in their apartment building — that is, until Rosie gives Don some news that changes everything: she’s pregnant. Don immediately begins to panic, worrying that his brain’s atypical wiring will make him an unsuitable father. But in an effort to reduce Rosie’s stress levels, he conceals his own anxiety and commences the Fatherhood Project. By reading pregnancy books, researching the healthiest diets for pregnant women, and buying the safest (and most expensive) stroller money can buy, Don hopes that he can overcome his perceived deficiencies as a father. Eventually, his project becomes so all-engrossing that he and Rosie begin to drift apart. Will Don’s preoccupation with the Fatherhood Project cause him to lose the most important people in his life?
The Rosie Project was one of my favorite 2014 reads, so I was excited to see that Graeme Simsion had written a sequel! Overall, I think fans of the first book will really like this one as well. Don Tillman is still a wonderful, (unintentionally) hilarious narrator who, despite his “different” brain, is struggling with a fairly universal experience. I imagine every expectant parent has the same doubts and fears about how to provide and care for their children, and in Don’s case these fears are amplified by his autism. So I found the main plot of the book to be very relatable and touching. The subplots, involving the financial and romantic woes of Don’s friends Gene and Dave, are a bit less interesting, and I thought they could have been streamlined a bit. I also found Rosie pretty unlikeable in this book, frankly. It seems to me that she deliberately isolates herself from Don instead of telling him what she needs. She doesn’t recognize his efforts at all, nor does she make any effort to help him understand how she’s feeling. Still, I enjoyed this book overall and would definitely recommend it to those who loved The Rosie Project!