Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Review: The Rosie Effect, by Graeme Simsion

Before I get stuck into my review of The Rosie Effect, I very quickly want to comment on its predecessor, The Rosie Project. Because if I'm going to be honest, I have to admit that I didn't totally love it. While I thought Don was an excellent narrator and loved the perspective he provided to me as a reader, I did think the story itself was too predictable. And overly predictable stories are a pet-hate of mine. But perhaps that's what was needed in order to make Don's story more accessible to people reading it? Who knows?

Despite these minor grumbles I did like The Rosie Project enough to read it's sequel, The Rosie Effect. And this was anything but predictable. At a whopping 411 pages long, The Rosie Effect takes you on a whirlwind adventure as Don and Rosie are unexpectedly expecting their first baby in their first year of marriage. 

Most of the craziness that results is ironically due to Don trying to be more empathetic and considerate of others, which we as readers can certainly empathise with. After all, how many times have you done something because you think it's for the right reason, when really it has the opposite effect? Well, this is a phenomenon that Don becomes increasingly familiar with and fortunately as the reader you get to laugh and cringe at Don as he fumbles along trying to do the right thing by those he cares for

It's this growth in Don - where he is more considerate and caring of how his actions effect those closest to him - that I really enjoyed in The Rosie Effect. After all, Don is the most unlikely person to start a men's support group, learn the ins and outs of fatherhood and bring together broken families. And yet he gets himself into all of these scenarios without realising the (unintentionally) positive effects he is having on others. As the fortunate reader you get to go on this journey with Don, who despite helping others, still finds much human behaviour utterly confusing and unpredictable. And thus Don reminds us that this is a wonderfully fundamental part of being human, making it easier for us as readers to connect with him and see the world from his perspective.

But it's not all happy-go-lucky for Don and Rosie, who face their own relationship challenges as they both adjust to the realisation of becoming parents. Simsion's portrayal of the daunting prospect of becoming parents is both touching and unnerving, particularly due to Don and Rosie's different approaches to coping with the upcoming changes. 

Overall The Rosie Effect is a great read and a great sequel to what was such a hit of a first book. It's very funny and very entertaining and has a lot of heart.

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