The Rosie Effect

Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Effect
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The Rosie Effect

Graeme Simsion

We’ve got something to celebrate,‘ Rosie said.

I am not fond of surprises, especially if they disrupt plans already in place. I assumed that she had achieved some important milestone with her thesis. Or perhaps she had been offered a place in the psychiatry-training programme. This would be extremely good news, and I estimated the probability of sex at greater than 80%.

'We’re pregnant,’ she said.

Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are now married and living in New York. Don has been teaching while Rosie completes her second year at Columbia Medical School. Just as Don is about to announce that Gene, his philandering best friend from Australia, is coming to stay, Rosie drops a bombshell: she’s pregnant.

In true Tillman style, Don instantly becomes an expert on all things obstetric. But in between immersing himself in a new research study on parenting and implementing the Standardised Meal System (pregnancy version), Don’s old weaknesses resurface. And while he strives to get the technicalities right, he gets the emotions all wrong, and risks losing Rosie when she needs him most.

The Rosie Effect is as charming and hilarious as its predecessor.

Review

I first met Don Tillman while living in London. One morning a parcel appeared through the small letterbox in my front door. Inside was a fluorescent orange book entitled The Rosie Project. I sat atop my bed in my West Kensington flat, with a view of Earl’s Court Station through my bedroom window, and, as Don charmed me with his eccentricities, I found myself swiftly transported back to Melbourne. Having lived in London for a year, I was soon due to return to my home city, and The Rosie Project welcomed me back, reminding me of everything I loved about faraway Melbourne. I was very excited, then, to discover there would be a sequel: The Rosie Effect, this time set in New York.

Now married, Don and Rosie are expecting, an event bound to wreak havoc in Don’s orderly life. Don, in an effort to come to terms with his impending fatherhood, is ‘in danger of prosecution, deportation and professional disgrace’. He embarks on a highly entertaining, albeit occasionally implausible, journey of knowledge acquisition, involving the not-so-discreet filming of children playing in the park, assisting with the birth of a calf and partaking in a single-sex-relationship parenting study. The ‘average person’ may have been able to navigate pre-parenthood matrimony with little trouble, but not Don. Unable to detect subtlety, nuance or sarcasm in others, and with little capacity for deceit, Don conceals his questionable activities from Rosie in order to minimise the potential danger of cortisol crossing her placenta wall (i.e. ‘stress’), and unwittingly places their relationship at risk of becoming unstuck.

I love the way Graeme Simsion writes, particularly his vivid character portraits. He has a knack for storytelling and devising creative plot twists, ensuring I want to keep reading page after page. Like The Rosie Project, The Rosie Effect is fresh, funny and engrossing, bound to reward Simsion’s fans and capture the imagination of a new readership.


Alexandra Mathew is from Readings Carlton.

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