#37 “The Rosie Effect” by Graeme Simsion

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  1. Divergent – Veronica Roth
  2. Insurgent – Veronica Roth
  3. Allegiant – Veronica Roth
  4. The Mammoth Book of Angels and Demons
  5. Last Night at Chateau Marmont – Lauren Weisberger
  6. The Green Mile – Stephen King
  7. Tiger Men – Judy Nunn
  8. The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
  9. The Rosie Effect – Graeme Simsion
  10. The Bane Chronicles  – Cassandra Clare et al
  11. Moriarty – Anthony Horowitz
  12. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

I actually finished this book days ago. But here’s something I forgot about being home: having a life means that my blogging falls by the wayside. I’ve been out for the past few nights and as such, I haven’t been able to write this up! Which really sucks. Mostly because I don’t read a book until I’ve written up the book  that preceded it. Two days without cracking open a book is Not. Cool.

Anyway, as far as sequels go, The Rosie Effect definitely holds its own. The story, the voice, the characters, everything is just a continuation of the first book, The Rosie Project. Have you ever noticed that some sequels seem like completely different books from the book that came before it? Not the case here. Which is always a plus, in my book.
But more than this, Simsion managed to subtly alter Tillman’s voice in a way that was true to the progression of the story. Tillman, in the first book, always described people via their BMIs. He stopped this for a lot of The Rosie Effect because Rosie explained that it really isn’t appropriate to do that. After a few fights with Rosie, Tillman starts to do the BMI thing again, but the fact that he stopped for a while was very impressive. Well, to me anyway.

Something I forgot to talk about in my last review is the science that’s included in these books. Simsion has his characters mention various scientific and psychological experiments to back up both his characters’ arguments and Simsion’s actual plot. It’s pretty cool. When Rosie debates the effects of alcohol on foetuses, insofar as that she can have a tiny glass of wine while pregnant, she actually brings up a peer reviewed article that backed up her argument. (No, this is not a spoiler. you can figure out what this book is about from the blurb). I thought that this was genius. And Tillman, our protagonist, brings up his own counterarguments, further supported by scientific research. I actually learned something very interesting while reading. Apparently, if a woman is unduly stressed during her pregnancy, the resulting elevated cortisol levels in her blood can lead to depression in her offspring. This makes so much sense when I think about it, but I never put the two together before.

Keep this in mind ladies: try and keep your stress levels to a minimum when pregnant.

I want to talk more about Tillman’s voice. We get this story through Tillman’s eyes completely. We don’t really put things together until Tillman does. Which is impressive. Like, in The Rosie Project, we don’t realise that Tillman loves Rosie until he does. Nothing he actually does equates to love. But when Tillman realises that he loves Rosie, I actually felt the same shock that Tillman must’ve. Which is strange, when we knew from the outset that Tillman and Rosie would end up together. So, in The Rosie Effect, we only realise that Tillman is excited about Rosie’s pregnancy when he does. Tillman’s characterisation is spot on. His voice remains constant throughout the entire book. Quite an amazing feat when Tillman’s voice is one of the more unique ones in the literary world.

On the same side of the coin, Rosie’s character really pissed me off. In the first book, Rosie accepted Tillman for all that he is, quirks and all. However, once she falls pregnant, everything that she once accepted becomes irksome to her. What’s more, she completely shuts Tillman out and decides that leaving him is the best option for her and her baby. But she never tells Tillman what her problems are. And this really grated. Mostly because Rosie seemed to have Tillman figured out in the first book. She knew that if she just told Tillman what she wanted or what she was thinking, then Tillman would figure out how to adjust his behaviour accordingly. In this book, however, she just gets snarky and rude and mean until she sees this video of Tillman and some babies (in an experiment which was designed to determine how different gender parental figures effect a baby’s oxytocin levels) and realises that Tillman can handle babies. I don’t know whether Simsion changed Rosie’s character because of the pregnancy hormones she would’ve been dealing with or if Rosie’s unhappiness was a plot device to show how well he can write Tillman’s unawareness, but either way I hated it. Rosie should know better. And the fact that she didn’t in this book felt like a gross injustice to Tillman.

Simsions focused a lot on family in this book. Parents with kids and husbands with wives. It was nice to see how many comparisons he could make without overtly making said comparisons. I think the addition of social worker Lydia made this pretty easy, but it was still pretty cool. And, all the while, we see how each individual dealt with Tillman’s idiosyncrasies. Oh, the social dynamics in this book are wonderful.

The Rosie Effect is just as good as The Rosie Project. Easy to read, engaging, and funny as hell in some places. However, the glaring inconsistency in Rosie’s character really annoyed me. So I’m going to have to dock my rating, just a little:

★★★ 3/4

And now I can finally start reading again!

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About Bec Graham

Bec Graham, 24, was born on the wrong continent. Everything from her burns-like-paper skin tone to her inability to cope with the slightest hint of a hot day suggests she should have been born under the gloomy skies and mild sun of the UK. She hopes writing will get her to her rightful home one day. Failing that, she scans the skies for a spinning blue police box, hoping to catch a lift back to the motherland.
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13 Responses to #37 “The Rosie Effect” by Graeme Simsion

  1. Amy Wallin says:

    Eugh I hate when main characters are grating! Sometimes the last thing you want to read is something that’s a little too realistic. We have reality for that.

    • Bec Graham says:

      This is why I mostly read fantasy. No chance of reading something too real there! Haha
      But damnit Rosie really pissed me off. I think because she decided to forget that Tillman is different from everyone else when it suited her. Kind of like how people treat mental illness

  2. HOLLY says:

    Books with science in them always fascinate me. I like to learn about science, but I don’t enjoy taking it in school so any knowledge I can soak up outside of the classroom is a real treat. I might have to give these two books a try- great review!

  3. Deborah says:

    I’ve read a lot of negative reviews (well, less than glowing reviews) about this sequel so it’s interesting to read your review Bec. I haven’t read The Rosie Project (or The Rosie Effect).

    PS. Know what you mean about getting out of routines etc though!

  4. Interesting thoughts to the sequel, it seems like this one retained the original’s overall feeling but the inconsistencies in the character made her difficult to connect with. I’ve been meaning to read this series, great review Bec!

  5. bellarah says:

    I’m thinking I won’t read this instalment… I liked The Rosie Project until I had a good think about it and lots of people think this one isn’t as good.
    I really didn’t like Rosie in the first book! If she gets worse in this one then I know she’ll really bug me!

    • Bec Graham says:

      My mum refused to read The Rosie Project because she thought it was sexist. Which I suppose it is, but Don really didn’t mean it that way, so I kind of forgave him. Maybe I shouldn’t have as a feminist.

      I actually would recommending skipping this one, especially is Rosie already got on your nerves. She is such a bitch in The Rosie Effect. People may blame her bitchiness on pregnancy hormones, but it was so much more than that. (Recently had a “friend” of a friend flip out and decide to blame pregnancy hormones, so I have no time for that).
      I don’t usually recommend skipping books, but this one may not be for you! Save yourself the frustration!

      • bellarah says:

        I forgave Don since he can’t understand why his questionnaire is so wrong, if he hadn’t been autistic I would have been really annoyed by it.

        Nup, pregnancy hormones don’t make you go quite that crazy! Not leave your husband and attempt to take his child away back to Melbourne crazy! She already annoyed mecoz she had no excuse for her behaviour towards Don by the end of the book… telling him all the things he’d have to change, when she knew he’d take it literally. She almost lost him his job and didn’t care!
        I think I’ll be taking that advice then! Thanks =)

      • Bec Graham says:

        Yep, I would’ve been sooo annoyed by Tillman too. No one can be reduced to a list, but if that’s what helps someone understand humanity then that’s what needs to be done.

        Actually that’s really true about Rosie. I felt like she understood Don. And then she pulled all that crap! I can’t stand selfishness. And she may be one of the most selfish characters ever. Who threatens to take a man’s child with her across the pond when she hasn’t even explained to the father why she’s thinking about doing it in the first place?!

      • bellarah says:

        Exactly! Tillman has no other way to understand, so I can forgive him for it.

        That’s what bothered me! She looked like she was finally understanding him in New York, though being really pushy, but I figured he needed a bit of pushing… then she does all that to him in the restaurant! Argh! I know if I read that bit, I’d become a danger to my Kindle and that would be an expensive rage quit.

      • Bec Graham says:

        Tillman is so clueless it’s almost adorable. Poor thing tries so hard. Too hard sometimes.

        I think Rosie’s just a fickle bitch, really. Tillman thinks he finally found someone to understand him only to have that someone completely freak out when she fell pregnant. Something she did without Tillman’s knowledge, because he thought she was on birth control. Gah! That Rosie annoys me. I hate her.

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