Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review: The Rosie Effect: A Novel by Graeme Simsion


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Rosie Project, starring the same extraordinary couple now living in New York and unexpectedly expecting their first child. Get ready to fall in love all over again.
Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are back. The Wife Project is complete, and Don and Rosie are happily married and living in New York. But they’re about to face a new challenge because— surprise!—Rosie is pregnant.
Don sets about learning the protocols of becoming a father, but his unusual research style gets him into trouble with the law. Fortunately his best friend Gene is on hand to offer advice: he’s left Claudia and moved in with Don and Rosie.
As Don tries to schedule time for pregnancy research, getting Gene and Claudia to reconcile, servicing the industrial refrigeration unit that occupies half his apartment, helping Dave the Baseball Fan save his business, and staying on the right side of Lydia the social worker, he almost misses the biggest problem of all: he might lose Rosie when she needs him the most.
Graeme Simsion first introduced these unforgettable characters in The Rosie Project, which NPR called “sparkling entertainment along the lines of Where’d You Go Bernadette and When Harry Met Sally.” The San Francisco Chronicle said, “sometimes you just need a smart love story that will make anyone, man or woman, laugh out loud.” If you were swept away by the book that’s captivated a million readers worldwide, you will love The Rosie Effect.

MY TAKE:
The main reason I requested this book was because of the comparison of the first book to When Harry Met Sally.

In The Rosie Effect, it's Don and Rosie's first year of marriage and it's proving to be a challenging one for them. Don's friend Gene has been kicked out by his wife, so Don offers to help him move to New York and work at Columbia. Their friends Dave and Sonia are expecting their first child, and things aren't exactly going well with Dave's business so Don is trying to help him out as well. Add to that, Rosie's pregnant. Don tries to cope with everything his own way, but will it be enough?

I wasn't too sure about the book while I was reading the first chapter. Part of it was due to the fact that I hadn't read the first book so I was just getting to know Don and his quirks. The more I got to know him and his circle of friends, though, the more I liked him. He reminds me of two of my former classmates, one who might have had Asperger's (as observed by some Pediatrics residents) and one who is a self-diagnosed hypochondriac and narcissist but is also a genius. That's why I laughed after reading the part where Don was labelled by another character as having Asperger's and Don says he's thought about it. For those who haven't had interaction with someone who has Asperger's, I guess the character I think who comes closest to Don is Dr. Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory.

Don was quite funny, and to be honest, I don't think his weirdness was disturbing in any way. It may be annoying in time, though, if he was your significant other. As a friend, though, he seems like a great guy to have around. I totally understand his adherence to scientific protocols and methodical approach to everything. His social awkwardness, on the other hand, was more endearing than embarrassing. He's not very perceptive, but that may be a good thing, considering his social skills.

Rosie, on the other hand, annoyed me. At first, she was okay. And I understood that she had some issues, which made her seem more like a three-dimensional character. The thing, though, that annoyed me was the fact that for someone who wanted a kid so much, she certainly didn't act like it. She drank and ate foods that aren't recommended for pregnant women, for one thing. I totally get that that part of pregnancy sucks, especially when you really want to eat something unhealthy. However, it's only for 9 months, or maybe more if you're planning on breastfeeding and you're planning on consuming alcohol. And the thing about unhealthy foods, I've always believed in erring in the side of caution.

Over the course of the book, I realized that I had Don's brain, but Rosie's heart. Don uses his brain to help others, but he thinks he can use it to help himself. It can, in a way, but what's more important in the long run, are the lessons he learns or realizes while interacting with people. Rosie's emotional here, probably because of the pregnancy, so she's not the easiest person to like. Her mood swings, however, do serve to propel the story forward, and in the end, I learned to begrudgingly accept her.

Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. Don is funny in an unintentional way.
  2. There are plenty of truths about marriage and male-female interaction here.
  3. You'll learn a number of things about pregnancy. 

THE BAD:

  1. Rosie can be annoying and irrational. 

READ IT IF:

  1. Sheldon Cooper is your favorite character from The Big Bang Theory.
  2. You like novels that don't sugarcoat marriage.
  3. You are about to be a new parent. 

RATING:
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