This is what happens to Rosie and Don almost a year after we last met them in The Rosie Project, you really do need to have read that book first to get the most from this one.
Rosie and Don are now living in an apartment in New York, making cocktails together at the local bar to supplement Rosie’s medical training while Don studies the effect of alcohol on rats in his role as Geneticist at the university. Unfortunately there is a domino effect of disasters ready to strike just around the corner, if not caused by Don’s inability to see the world in the same way as the average person, then certainly compounded by this fact.
Some of the secondary characters from the original book make an appearance in this one but I have to say even these aren’t quite as bright and sparkly as they were, it is almost as if by getting older the world is not quite so full of opportunities and life has become more ordinary, except for Don whose character has stayed entirely intact with a few minor modifications such as the modification to his daily eating plan. However much you like Don though, the other characters are required to move the story along so that it doesn’t get too bogged down in Don’s logic and this time the relief and most touching instances come from Don bonding with his male friends over a game of Baseball. Graeme Simsion has successfully taken four disparate blokes and given them a way to bond which is entirely male, and in keeping with Don’s character and allowed us to see what goes on behind the raw actions of these men. Gene was a surprise and it depends which way you read one episode to whether or not he gets the prize for the most-misunderstood man in the book. Overall the writing was of the same standard of the original although some of the situations appeared to be a little bit forced and didn’t really have any real purpose.
Because the overall feel was slightly more downbeat I didn’t get the same enjoyment from this episode, it was still funny but not quite as sweet as The Rosie Project and the subject covered isn’t as unique, in fact Don’s reaction to the news isn’t so out of the ordinary for any man, Don just takes it to a slightly different level. Rosie’s character was much harder in this book, something necessary for the plot but disappointing for this reader as it added to the more downbeat tone, you can’t hook up with a man like Don and then decide in such a short space of time that he isn’t up to the job! That is just not fair Rosie!!
On balance I will still be recommending The Rosie Project to everyone who asks for a good book but this is one for die-hard fans to read with the knowledge that perhaps that original magic can’t be replicated in another episode.
I’d like to say a big thank you to Penguin Books UK who kindly gave me a copy of this book in return for this honest review. The Rosie Effect will be published on 25 September 2014.