The Rosie Effect, sequel to the clever The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is still quite intellectually pleasant, although, it did not bring the same ecstatic feeling that I have felt when reading the Rosie Project.
It tells the story of Don and Rosie’s married life in New York and the unexpected news of Rosie’s pregnancy, how secrets build up, their relationship drawing apart, and how their marriage just after a year and few months is now on the brink of ending
The Rosie Effect, compared to the first book, focuses more on Don and his relationship with his surrounding, with his growing circle of friends which is directly affected by his relationship with Rosie. True to the title, the book shows the effect of Rosie in Don’s life – how he interact with his friends, how he cope up with his impending fatherhood, how he cope up with his married life among others.
What I loved about the book was the consistency of the characters and the introduction of new ones. Don is still differently wired. I’ve come to love and appreciate Don and his differently wired personality coz in some ways I am able to relate to him. I have, however, missed the interactions of Rosie and Don. Rosie is still Rosie, Gene is still the “sex addict that he is”(although it was later revealed that it was just a made-up personality). The introduction of George, the rock star, the re-introduction of Dave and his wife, and all the other new characters that served as a reference to Don’s widening social circle. As his circle grows and he sort of has his own set group of friends, his relationship with Rosie (along with the baby) grows apart.
The book also provides insightful learnings. First, the introspection of Don – accepting the judgment of Lydia, his social worker, that he is not suited to be a father, after much contemplation – is one of the saddest truths of life. We mostly accept that we are what others see us, failing to recognize that they don’t really know us. Don, even with all his genius and his problem-solving expertise, was ready to let go of his relationship, of his marriage to Rose, and possible relationship to Bud (Baby Under Develpment) because subconsciously we are wired to readily accept things we pre-conceived we are or will happen. In Don’s case, he knows he is different from others in terms of the emotional aspect. This led him to acknowledging the fact that he definitely is built to spend his life alone. Thus, justifying that the Rosie phase is just a glitch in his otherwise wired life. We think that we are, what we are, what others think we are, because subconsciously, we already accepted the fact that we are what we are.
Two, Don is stupid. Even with his brain and the knowledge that lying is definitely not good in a relationship, he still did it anyways and in much a grander scale (He deceived Lydia by letting Sonia, Dave’s wife, pretend to be Rosie). I’m not a relationship, not by a long mile, as I have zero experience with it. But i do know that in any relationship, honesty and trust is important. Once it is broken, the damage is hard to patch.
Three, change is constant even if we don’t notice it. In The Rosie Effect, the blatant change is the setting of the story. From Melbourne, the story was now set to New York. However, we can also see how Don changes along with it. Yeah, i know that i just said earlier that Don didn’t change and now I’m saying that he changed. Don, for me, did not change because he still has his own distinct and major characteristic – genius and differently wired. But he changed in terms of the social aspect. He became softer in a way that even he fails to recognize. Because he was used to look at things scientifically and due to his own lack of emotion analyzer, he did not immediately recognize that he was already displaying emotions than ever before. Case in point is the lesbian care experiment, when he let the baby crawled on top of him. It was told in a scientific way but then the video that was shown later own showed his happiness that he did not know he felt at that time.
Four, sometimes, all we need is a little push. Don, on the brink of giving up Rosie, was pushed by his friends, given support by Davie, the Head of his department, and Phil, Rosie’s father to keep trying. Their unending support along with the circumstances that happened allowed Don and Rosie to stay together. Which brings me to the last point.
Five, as Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist goes “And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.” With deciding not to give up, Don wanted to stay with Rosie and bud more than ever. And sometimes, wanting something so badly is all we need.