The Rosie Result by Graeme Simsion

This is the third in this delightful series about the exploits of Don Tillman, who has found the love of his life – Rosie – married her, and is now raising their “result,” Hudson.  As Rosie has now been offered a position in their native Australia, they have uprooted 11-year-old Hudson and are trying to help him adjust to the transition.  Because Hudson is definitely a creature of habit, he is not very happy with the change and he is letting Don and Rosie know it.  And so are his teachers.  And the school principal.  As a professional crisis for Don leads him to change his work schedule and focus, he opts to spend more time with Hudson to support him with the adjustment.  This process leads both Don and Hudson down a road to self-discovery that is truly life-changing for both of them.

I love the writing for its voice.  The author creates the most endearing character in Don, even as Don verbalizes little directly of his own emotions.  Don’s utter honesty and kindness are reflected in the things he says and does for those around him and the reactions he elicits are often surprise and wonder., even as people see him as different.  He struggles to fit in with those who are “neurotypical” (not autistic) and wants his son to fit in as well in order to avoid the difficulties Don has had to contend with. In this and many other ways, he demonstrates that he deeply feels compassion and empathy, even if he misses other more subtle social cues.

Clearly, the author,  with the assistance of his wife (a psychologist), has made a statement here in this novel in support of those in the autism community.  Apparently there are differing opinions on how to approach children with autism –whether to teach them skills to integrate more into the neurotypical community or to allow them to be as they are (and obviously to reach out to the general public and educate us more on acceptance, which should be happening anyway).  I imagine this must be a painfully difficult decision for some parents, who want to spare a child’s suffering (these children are often bullied because they are different) but also allow a child to see that they are loved for who they are, no matter what.  I believe this book gives a lot of insight into both the challenges and the capabilities of those with autism and one turns the final pages feeling strongly allied with this community.

I also love the not-so-subtle shout out in support of vaccinations.  There is a very strong statement countering the absolutely unsubstantiated idea that vaccines cause autism.  This idea was started by an unethical researcher in England years ago who was later found to have fudged his data in order to be published.  But the damage was done.  He’s created a community of people who believe in conspiracy theories about vaccines that are just untrue.  Vaccines save lives.  Period.

I love all of the Rosie books – and this one is another great one!  Definitely read it!

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion (migrated from bookblogger)

This is the sequel to The Rosie Project and is almost as cute and charming as the first one.  This takes the main character, Don, and his new wife, Rosie, to New York to continue his research at Columbia while his wife is a medical student there.  To his surprise, Rosie is suddenly pregnant and he is led by a series of comical errors to believe that he will be unsuited for the role of father.

I think it would be a good idea, if others are considering reading this sequel, to maybe wait awhile before reading it.  I think reading it too soon after the first was a mistake, because as much as I was enamored of the main character and his very endearing voice in the first book, I think I actually got almost as annoyed as Rosie was with him in the second.  It is still an engaging and sweet book, however, and I do recommend it.

Most importantly, I think, the book enlightened the reader about Asperger’s.  I think it tells, in a very straight-forward way, both the difficulties and the virtues of those who have this type of personality.  Don, in his own very direct and humble way, does so much good for others, even when it puts him in danger, and he is very much a hero in his own way.  Without even thinking about the consequences, he does the right thing so often, when one who is more emotional, might not have.  It is an interesting perspective on a condition that most think is a negative.  Here, in many ways, it demonstrates how positive this condition can be.  And anytime a book expands our insight into another way of being, I feel this is a good thing.

 

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (migrated from bookblogger)

This book is delightful! Don, a genetics professor with Asperger’s, has decided that he is ready to find his life partner.  In his structured, rigid world, this seems to be his next step.  He decides to go about this in the logical way in which he goes about everything — by creating the Wife Project, for which he develops a questionnaire.  In the course of this search, he comes upon Rosie, who he eliminates from Day 1 because she does not make the cut (too many wrong answers!).  However, when Rosie asks for help with her own quest, Don gets drawn in, in spite of himself.

Don’s story is also told with great humor and tenderness.  One can see how even with his rituals and his need for logic, he struggles with his own emotionality and how while emotions are not logical, they are still a part of him.  And the irony is that he is probably more similar to others than different in this regard.

It is an interesting commentary on human behavior, what is considered “normal” and what is really and truly abnormal.  It is also a really, really fun book to read!