Forty-one-year-old geneticist Don Tillman had never had a second date before he met Rosie.
Now, living in New York City, they have survived ten months and ten days of marriage, even if Don has had to sacrifice standardized meals and embrace unscheduled sex.
But then Rosie drops the mother of all bombshells. And Don must prepare for the biggest challenge of his previously ordered life – at the same time as dodging deportation, prosecution and professional disgrace.
Is Don Tillman ready to become the man he always dreamed of being? Or will he revert to his old ways and risk losing Rosie for ever?
First published: 2014
In the summer of 2014 I read The Rosie Project and absolutely loved it. In fact, it was in my top ten of books I read in the past three years. So, as you can imagine, I was very excited for The Rosie Effect and was quite sure I was going to love it.
Wrong. In fact, I almost didn’t finish it, but I figured I owed it to Don Tillman to keep reading. The recipe and ingredients for another amazing novel are there, in theory, but the magic of The Rosie Project is just gone entirely. Instead of laughing out loud, I cringed, and many parts annoyed the heck out of me. What I loved about The Rosie Project – the misunderstandings and miscommunication that led to hilarious and heartwarming situations – is no longer present in The Rosie Effect.
Don Tillman is still the same Don, and seeing everything through his eyes was in essence once again a fun experience. Plus, Simsion’s writing style is still wonderful, so I definitely enjoyed some parts of the story. However, the problems Don runs into in this sequel were not at all funny to me.
This more or less started with the moment Don gets arrested on suspicion of child pornography because he is filming children in a playground. Of course, Don doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong – he was just doing research into the behaviour of children. The NYPD didn’t really see it that way, though (which is understandable). While this is obviously meant as another hilarious pickle for Don to get into, I didn’t think this, and the way it was handled within the book, was funny at all. Don is ordered to go see a psychologist (or psychiatrist, I can’t remember) so they can determine that he is not in fact a child molester, but these meetings are handled unbelievably unprofessionally. I couldn’t laugh about it at all. I just kept thinking: “this is someone’s life you’re potentially ruining, just because he’s a little different than the average human being and you don’t like him.”
Then there’s Rosie, a character I absolutely fell in love with in the first book. It felt as if she is just a completely different person in this book. She didn’t have her fun traits anymore and all she did was criticise Don, while she should know by now how to communicate with him. That’s what made them work in the first place – she knew how to get to him. I’m not saying that everything that happens between the two of them is Rosie’s fault. I mean, Don is quite impossible at times, mostly when it comes to hiding stuff from Rosie because he thinks it will upset her. Furthermore, I get that there are hormones involved in her decision making process, but to me, it just didn’t feel right. This was not the Rosie I came to know in The Rosie Project and that bugged me.
Basically, the whole story just felt strained and weird, with strange tangents that didn’t add much to the plot. The only reason why I gave this two stars on Goodreads, and two teacups on here, is because I loved the first book and I still like Don Tillman. He’s a good guy and a wonderful character and he deserved much better than this half-hearted sequel in which he has to deal with so much BS that is neither funny nor believable anymore. I really wish I could write a more positive review of this book, but I can’t, and I wouldn’t recommend reading it, even if you loved the first book.
8 thoughts on “The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion”
Like you I didn’t feel the humour was as natural in this one as in The Rosie Project perhaps because the jokes were a little tired due to the subject matter? I still lived Don though…
Yes, that might have been part of the reason indeed! I also think some of the jokes simply went to far, though and just weren’t funny (like the playground thing, and the airplane thing at the end). I did still adore Don as well, which is pretty much the only reason I didn’t stop reading, I think!
ohhh, this is kind of worrying me, I loved the first book, but i’m yet to read this one…
I actually had a problem with the first one with the ending, I thought the decisions to get married, live together and move away were all rather sudden, so I’m not sure if Rosie should actually “know” how to talk to Don…
I still read it, I’m curious, but I’m sad you didn’t like it =/
I loved the first book as well, so this was quite a disappointment! Those were pretty rash decisions indeed, and perhaps those sudden changes is what made this book so much more difficult, in a way. Don is completely out of his comfort zone in this one… I do still think Rosie should have a better understanding of Don after everything they’ve been through than the level of understanding she shows in The Rosie Effect, though.
I’m curious to see what you’ll think of the novel! I saw on Goodreads that some people really did like this one, so who knows, maybe I’m just being too harsh. 🙂 (but I don’t think so, haha!)
I’ll let you know when I get to it 🙂
:(! I just read The Rosie Project and loved it, so I’m really sad this one isn’t up to the mark. Maybe I’ll just forget it exists and keep the magic of the first book alive. Thanks for warning me!
Yeah, it was quite the disappointment… 😦 I would recommend doing that, haha! Although I’d also understand being too curious to forget about this one.