The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

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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.

 

 

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

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This is very……….. brain-stimulating. Clever and witty. Fresh, smart, and highly-engaging novel. One that deviates from my usual teen, cute, novels.

I actually was not able to finish the first chapter when I have tried reading The Rosie Project the first time. Not because it was not interesting. Oh, it is definitely interesting and a whole lot more. But prolly at that time I just want an easy read, no deep complications, no need for the synapses of my brain to exert more effort than they are used to. When I have tried reading it for the second time, given that I have allowed my brain to process my expectations and conditioned it to be able to take a more scientific approach to what I will be reading, I enjoyed it immensely.

The Rosie Project definitely is a whole new world to me. I’ve been the geeky type in elementary and high school but never pursued it in college and have never needed to use my stored knowledge afterwards. I did not expected a novel could combine science, wit, and charm all at the same time and produce such an intellectual piece of art. Praise for Grame Simsion, the Australian author responsible for this masterpiece.

The Rosie Project is about Professor Don Tillman and his Wife project in search for the perfect life partner. Being the kind of person that he is, queer, extremely organized, socially inept, it seemed impossible for him to have a wife at age forty. But then, being the person that he is, he had a brilliant idea to solve the problem, he tackled it the same he would an experiment. He created a set of questionnaire that would determine the compatibility of the person with him. However, an unexpected variable came into the picture, disrupting everything else he has in his perfectly manufactured circle – Rosie. Rosie is the opposite of everything Don is looking for as a partner. She is disorganized. She smokes. She’s a vegetarian. She’s a barmaid. Thus, being stereotypical, deducing from her job, she’s not good with high-level mathematics. The first time they met, Don thought that she was one of the women who has answered his questionnaire and was recommended Gene, her best friend and Head of the Psychology department in their university, upon going through all those who answered. However, he couldn’t be more wrong.

Nevertheless, they continued their meeting in light of a new project that came up – the Father project. Rosie is trying to find her biological father to go ahead and tie the loose ends of her childhood and move on. Don offered to help, given his expertise in genetics, he thought he can definitely be a helping hand. This is where it starts getting crazy. His schedule is thrown off with a lot of unpredictable events. He learned how to mix cocktails, be a waiter, be awesome in collecting DNA illegally and unethically and in some cases, the most gross way. All to help Rosie, which he still couldn’t figure out the reason why he is helping in the first place. He then later learned that Rosie did not even know what the Wife project is. She was, in fact, a PhD Psychology student under Gene, and that’s the reason why they met.

After a series of unethical, illegal, gross cases of getting DNA of people who might or might not be Rosie’s father, and a series of misunderstandings, mostly due to Don’s ability in not being able to comprehend social cues and how to best respond to them, they felt awkward around each other but then was later resolved along with the conclusion of both the Wife and the Father Project.

The premise is simple – opposites attract. It was presented though through a narrative like never before. It was engaging to read and I cannot stop reading. The story was relayed from the point of view of Don and was written with precision of how a character like Don thinks. Even though I did not understand some of the more scientific words and processes, it definitely did not prevent me from enjoying the novel as much as I did.

It also emphasized once again the notion that love moves in mysterious ways. There is no equation that even the most brilliant person can generate predicting who you should spend the rest of your life with coz sometimes even if someone is perfect on paper (like Bianca in the story), you cannot help that your heart will want what it wants ever if your brain opposes to do so.

Also, it’s a reference to the idea that someone out there is a match for you. He or she might not come in the way or form that you expected them to be but you will surely find the one. Maybe not now, maybe later but you will find the one. Even when you have given up all hope in finding that one special person because of how you are perceived to be different by society. As long as you’re open to possibilities, anything can happen. You just need to accept it when you come across it and work towards keeping it.

The Rosie Project is definitely one of the most brilliant novels I have read so far and one that created impact that one will remember. I hope I can see it in the big screen one day.