Having been a fan of Simsion’s earlier work, The Rosie Project, I had high expectations for the sequel, The Rosie Effect. Though eager to catch up with Don Tillman (following him on Twitter hasn’t been enough), I wasn’t sure what to expect. Sequels are rarely as good as they ought to be and seldom live up to expectations (with the exception of the High School Musical films, the third film was seriously good). Would it be all I wanted it to be?
Funny as ever
One of the best selling points of The Rosie Project was the effortless humour we get from Don’s regular mishaps. Eight pages in and I was already giggling out loud. At this point it was about Jerome, Don and Rosie’s neighbour and how he had managed to put some of his clothes in their wash, turning quite a few things purple in the process. Don’s confrontation is brilliantly comical and simple observations, such as “His T-Shirt was purple” after a tense moment had me quietly laughing to myself, as well as the fact that his reasoning for drinking someone else’s champagne sounded similar to justifications I have heard recently.
37 days to #TheRosieEffect (Australian Ed). “I remembered Phil did not drink alcohol and quickly drained his glass to avoid embarrassment”.
— Don Tillman PhD (@ProfDonTillman) August 17, 2014
Packed with lists and logical conclusions, it’s easy to understand the appeal of Don’s narrative and of Simsion’s first work. It’s this extraordinarily methodical nature that Don emanates which provides such scope for humour, leading to bizarre situations, such as helping a cow give birth. The contrast between his logic and the comedic conclusions he reaches are brilliantly funny, one example out of many is found with the rational conclusion: “we would get a bigger fridge, and all other problems would be solved.”
The Rosie Problem
The novel is called The Rosie Effect, though and it’s unfortunate that Rosie becomes less likeable as a character (at least for me). Having been amused and enamoured by Don in The Rosie Project, she’s now more easily frustrated by his loveable quirks. She flagrantly asserts her feminist attitude, and whilst I myself am a feminist, it’s simply a little too overt at times, particularly when she decides to take it out on Don when he’s simply thinking about practical arrangements.
Many of the characters from the previous Rosie book appear once more, which is to be expected, and it’s interesting to see how all the other characters have developed, I especially enjoyed learning about Gene and Claudia. It was frustrating though, because I couldn’t quite place Simon Lefebvre, who was he again? If you can’t remember exactly what went on in The Rosie Project, you’ll need to do a quick skim, which was an annoying discovery.
Crazy, stupid, love
Much like the film Crazy, Stupid, Love (although who even remembers what happens, Ryan Gosling was in it, that’s all we need to know), the book builds to a brilliant climax. The tension has been building, and there is a hilarious scene at the airport. Will Rosie and Don’s crazy love allow them to overcome problems they have been facing? The comedy is priceless, there is no mention of phalanges (Friends) or pretending bananas are guns (Thanks for the Memories by Cecilia Ahern) but it is just as brilliant.
As great as the airport scene is, the ends aren’t quite tied up, we have to wait a few chapters more and the resolution is a little too quick. The buildup of problems and negative feeling has been building for a while, and Don’s revelation of whether or not Rosie and he will make it through is a little to concise, it is certainly not satisfying enough.
With Christmas approaching, this is an ideal read. It is easy to read, fun and light hearted. The ending ties up well, but is not cliched (especially with Gene) and there is a more serious message thrown in with comedy and familiar characters, as well as some new ones. It’s not quite on par with The Rosie Project, it’s a little too long and has a few extra flaws, but it’s still a novel worth reading.