READ BELOW, TO ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF GRAEME SIMSION’S THE ROSIE EFFECT.
**Giveaway details: Leave a comment below, regarding anything published within this blog post, to enter for the chance to win a copy of The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion. The contest is only open to those living in the US. The winner will be selected at random July 30,2015 at 11:59 pm. At about 12am July 31,2015, the winner will be informed via email that they have been selected as the winner, and their prize book will be shipped to them within a week, or two week’s time, by the publisher. Best of luck to everyone entering!
Review: This is a review of both books jointly!
The Rosie Project: From the outset of the book, The Rosie Project is a very sensitive, witty, delightfully cerebral romantic comedy, featuring the first-person perspective of a genetics professor with Asperger’s, endeavoring to find love. His character is endearing and very well-shaped; I really felt like the main character of Don Tillman was a fantastic rendering of a character, faced with the unique difficulties in his professional life, of having a mental disorder that makes them have difficulties with socializing with others, try to succeed in doing so anyways.
His faux-pas, and social ineptitude are sensitively portrayed as humorous blunders, where he tries to understand an entirely different scheme of life that isn’t as rote, or tactile and logically linear as the world of genetics. In genetics, there isn’t so many different emotional variances, or slight, subtle cues. And Graeme Simsion does an expert job, handling the hard task of translating the thought patterns of someone with Asperger’s, in a way that makes the character of Don Tillman’s complexities of character, along with the nuances of his psychological condition, come through in a lucid, fascinating way.
More important, the humor of his mishaps, and moments of inadvertent impropriety are balanced well alongside the well-handled, serious drama aspect, which involves Don trying to search out the biological father of Rosie, who he begins to developing a romantic relationship with; their budding romance could have come off as a contrived gimmick that otherwise could have detracted from enjoyment of this intelligently-written story. Yet their interactions are very fun to read, especially since Rosie is in many ways the complete opposite of him, as she is free-spirited, thus independently-minded in an entirely different sense than Don who is rigid, methodical, and set-in-his-ways, with respects to his form of independence.
The story gives us a very thorough, and above all, sensitive/accurate portrayal of a character with Asperger’s, and it is both equally funny and serious. It is an unconventional, well-written romantic comedy that will greatly appeal to readers, in search of books that admirably present characters with very different psyches, or dispositions, that are rarely presented so well, and so prominently in many other books in this genre. Besides being absolutely hilarious at points, The Rosie Project really gave me a very trenchant look at the unique daily challenges someone with Asperger’s faces, in a world that often makes great demands on people with a wide array of unique psychological conditions, to be not just socially adept, but to be almost immaculate in terms of how perfect your social conduct can be.
The Rosie Effect: In many ways, The Rosie Effect, the sequel to the brilliantly bright, impulsively readable The Rose Project, pales a bit in comparison. The basic story involves the unique challenges of commitment, in a committed relationship with another human being. In of itself, marriage is already a terribly difficult thing for many people, having fidelity throughout the many conflicts and and challenges that any married couple face is something very trying. When someone has a unique psychological condition, a marriage that is already inherently something that carries specific challenges can be especially hard for someone with Asperger’s, who has difficulty with sometimes fully comprehending the wide range of social cues, and subtlety, or nuances, expressed in someone’s tone. This creates a myriad number of terrible difficulties for Don, who sometimes does not seem to have the full support at all times of Rosie. These are all expressed many times, throughout the novel, in a comedic light, but this book allows these things to carry sometimes a more serious tone as well.
In many ways, this book is more riveting and deeper, as it really authentically portrays the unique challenges that someone with Asperger’s faces, when entering into a marriage, or having children. Yet in some ways, the charm and fond cleverness of the first book doesn’t come across as strongly in this book. And some of the situations are not just absurd in principle, they become sometimes patently absurd, to the point of rupturing a reader’s suspension of disbelief. To be fair, these seemingly ridiculous things are part and parcel of the unique charm and humor of the story, yet there should still be a degree of realism to at least keep things from becoming too immoderately ridiculous. My biggest concern was the way that Don’s clear unique psychological difficulties were clearly more than just charming, eccentric foibles, and sometimes I feel the self-awareness that he had Aspergers was not something deal with enough, or quite as extensibely, and realistically, as I would have hoped as a reader. Perhaps, there is intention behind that as well, in that there may be another installment forthcoming that deals in greater detail about coming full-circle with facing the many unqiue challenges of having something like Asperger’s syndrome. The one clear realistic element of all of this is the gradual quality of the novel’s development of his character; the fact that Don still faces many numerous, new challenges shows that having a certain type of psychological condition really is very much something that is a daily challenge when this person must learn to adapt to a rapidly-changing modern environment.
Nonetheless, the book still runs the gamut of realistically portraying all the nuances of someone with Asperger’s, to the extent where I actually felt even more deeply connected with Don as a character, as he faces so many different trials and challenges in this story. You really cannot help but laugh when something inadvertently funny occurs for him due to a social faux-pas, and you cannot help but hope in earnest for his triumph in his life.
Even though, it is both different and slightly inferior to the first novel (in terms of realism), I really enjoyed it nonetheless, and it was as richly enjoyable and tons of fun, as with the first novel. The humor is spot on, of course, which makes this book yet another rip-roaring fest of intelligently written hilarity, and heartening social/romantic drama that really shapes Don and the other characters within his life into full-fledged, deep personalities, that you cannot help but feel are somehow real-people, perhaps existing on a separate plane of reality, apart from our own.