The Rosie Effect, by Graeme Simsion (2014)

Romance (but quirky)
The Rosie EffectAs mentioned at the end of my review of The Rosie Project, author Graeme Simsion is again focusing his sharp storytelling skills on Don Tillman, the genetics professor with Asperger’s whose problem-solving approach to life has led him to marriage with Rosie, despite her clear unsuitability as a partner. This second novel opens in New York City, where the couple has moved so Rosie can pursue both PhD and MD studies at Columbia, where Don has been hired as a faculty member. They eventually settle into a lovely apartment thanks to Don’s inimitable approach to life. It has a great view, lots of space, but it’s also a rich guy’s beer cellar, and Don is the beerkeeper. A great deal all around, and Don is adjusting to marriage, learning the value of compromise but still keeping to a minute-by-minute schedule as he navigates life in the Big Apple, even making a couple of new friends. But Rosie has news that rocks his world. She’s expecting. In an effort to get a better understanding of what is pending, he heads off to a nearby playground with a videocamera, gets arrested, and is assigned a social worker. Deciding to keep all of this from Rosie, who is stressed enough, Don finds himself creating more and more problems, culminating in the worst news of all – Rosie is no longer happily married. So is this worth reading? Well, it depends. If you just want to spend more time with Don and Rosie and laugh along the way, absolutely pick it up. If, however, you enjoyed The Rosie Project for its underlying commentary on identity and love, you will be disappointed. Multiple plotlines keep the story moving at a good pace, but Rosie’s character is more closed in this novel. Gene, the philandering professor from Australia, joins the cast when his own marriage crumbles, but provides too much wise counsel this time around. George is too convenient as a rock star moneybags, though I did quite like the introduction of Sonia, Dave’s pregnant wife. In the acknowledgments, I was delighted to see Simsion thank the Australian children’s book illustrator Chris Waddell for his guidance on drumming! He also thanks three people for “their knowledge of New York City.” Which brings me to a final point. I enjoyed the references he made to the subway, the High Line and Cafe Wha?, but I would have liked to have seen even more. An Australian with Asperger’s in New York City? Surely more could have been made of this! My thanks to NetGalley for the egalley in exchange for my honest review.
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