Five words from the blurb: marriage, irrational, challenge, life, disgrace
I LOVED The Rosie Project so was very excited about trying the sequel. Unfortunately the two books were very different and The Rosie Effect failed to repeat the magic of the first.
The Rosie Project was special because it was the only novel I’d read which depicted Asperger’s in a positive light. I loved the way it showed the problems faced by those on the spectrum in an amusing manner, without being condescending or judgmental. Unfortunately The Rosie Effect didn’t follow the same formula. Instead it seemed to highlight all the negative aspects of the condition, leading me to become depressed and (occasionally) angry.
The Rosie Effect begins with Rosie discovering that she’s pregnant. Don worries that he’ll not be a suitable father so sets out to research the best way of dealing with the pregnancy and the arrival of a new baby. The question of whether someone on the autistic spectrum would make a good parent is a sensitive and divisive subject. Everything written in the book was technically accurate, but I felt it was handled in a bad way. Some of the scenes, particularly those involving Lydia, the social worker, made my blood boil.
I also found that Don had become the typical stereotype of those on the spectrum. His wonderful quirkiness had been reduced to a set of behavioural traits. It was frustrating to see such a fantastic character reach such lows. It is useful for those who know little about autism to be informed about the darker side of the condition, but for those of us who are well aware of the problems it made a difficult and emotional read.
I recommended The Rosie Project to everyone I knew withing the autism community. Unfortunately I’ll be advising those same people to avoid the sequel. I want to give it a low star rating and tell you not to read it, but that isn’t fair because Graeme Simsion is a talented author. This book is gripping throughout and I couldn’t wait to see what happened in the end. It is just a shame that the subject matter was so negative.
What do you think?