This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Kay Brooks
Scientifically-minded and socially challenged geneticist Don Tillman feels that he has been lucky to find a wife at all, let alone one as perfect as Rosie. When she announces that they are pregnant, Don believes that him being able to fulfil the role of a successful father is extremely unlikely. To lessen his chances of getting it wrong, he undertakes a project: to become the best father he possibly can be. Unfortunately his unconventional methods result in him being arrested and having to prove to his assigned judgemental social worker that he is capable of supporting Rosie and providing appropriate care for a baby. On top of all this, he has to find time to help his recently separated friend, Gene, service the beer refrigeration system that takes up the majority of his new apartment, and help the hapless Dave rescue his failing business. With all this to do, it’s no wonder he hasn’t noticed that his marriage is catastrophically failing.
Narrated by Don Tillman, The Rosie Effect is an insight into the mind of man with Asperger’s Syndrome. Written in a light-hearted and humorous tone, it is interesting and equally amusing to see how Don misinterprets or completely misses social cues, often resulting in him making a bad impression or unintentionally offending someone. Despite being amusing, Don’s misunderstandings highlight the ignorance of society when dealing with people like him and also show the pressure of society’s expectations to conform to what is deemed to be ‘normal.’Don is very likeable and easy to sympathise with. It seemed such a shame that he constantly had to adapt his natural behaviour to fit in and be acceptable to others. On a positive note, his friends seem to value his quirky behaviour and Rosie admits that she also needs to adapt to him if their relationship is going to be successful. As he is the sole narrator, I found myself having to work harder to deduce how other characters were feeling through what he observes. It was frustrating to be able to see Rosie struggling to cope while he carries on without communicating with her.
The introduction of Don’s looming fatherhood role is shared by his friend, Dave, showing that all men have their hopes and fears about sharing their lives with a new baby. This gave the novel a more rounded feel and made Don seem less unusual as it showed that, yes, he is different from the average man, but also that he shares the same emotions even if he is unable to express them as eloquently.
An unusual love story from the perspective of a ‘not exactly average’ man!