I’m chuffed to bit to be kicking off this week’s blog tour of Graeme Simsion’s second novel, The Rosie Effect. Carrying on from where Graeme’s bestselling debut ended, this continues the story of Professor Don Tilman and his new wife Rosie, as they encounter further problems living in The Big Apple, New York City. Don loves Rosie, and is beginning to cope without his Standardised Meal Systems and need for personal space-but what happens when Rosie decides to start a family, can he cope with fatherhood-can the couple survive the pregnancy?
Here are a few words from the author…
The Rosie Project in the last year – what’s happened since publication?
I suppose there are authors who never look at the bestseller lists or the sales figures. Or say they don’t. I’m not one of them. I’m interested in the commercial side of publishing, and conscious that if a publisher loses on a book deal with me, they may be less excited next time. And The Rosie Project was my first novel.
Since publication in Australia in February last year, it’s had a strong run in the bestseller lists around the world, with translation rights now sold in 37 languages. Sony Pictures have optioned the film rights, and I’ve completed the draft screenplay.
The bottom line is that I now make a living writing, and it’s hard to overstate how important that is to me. But what has been at least as interesting has been the response of readers. I’ve been on the road in Australia, US and UK, with visits to Germany, France, Italy, New Zealand and Hong Kong almost non-stop since publication, and have had a chance to meet literally thousands of them. And there are the online reviews and feedback via my publishers and social media.
1. Men like the book as much as women, but are more likely to find it ‘profound’ than ‘funny’. (“Don is so like my husband” vs “Don’s a bit like me.”) And they’re likely to read it because it’s recommended by their female partner. Bill Gates’s review at illustrates both points.
2. The Asperger’s community have been hugely supportive and I’ve done several talks for Asperger’s / autism groups. Criticism of the comedic aspect – or the authenticity of the representation – has come largely from outside that community.
3. It’s all about Don. Although it has been promoted in some countries as ‘romance’ or ‘chick lit’ with an emphasis on Rosie’s story, readers primary interest is in Don.
The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion is published by Michael Joseph on 25th September, £14.99 hardback Available for pre-order here!
The Rosie Effect blog tour continues tomorrow over on Novel Kicks.
So, what did I think?
I loved The Rosie Project. Loved it. I found it touching, hilarious in parts, really incite full and an obvious best seller in the making. My original review for LeedsBookClub goes on and on and on about how much I loved it and I was chuffed to bits when the book became part of the Sharing Stories chosen books for 2014.
The Rosie Effect is definitely a sequel, rather than a stand alone novel. It isn’t as laugh and loud funny as TRP, nor is it as original-because it is a sequel. It is however very profound and thought-provoking in the way that it shows the challenges of living with none neurotypical brain in a world that judges those do very harshly. This book shows Don as a fish, not out of water, but maybe a little out of depth.
Don has settled very nicely into his life at Columbia University, supporting Rosie, working part-time as a cocktail waiter, getting on with his new friends. Rosie falls pregnant. This is the beginning of a series of personal disasters for Don as the control he needs to have over his life slowly slips away.
Firstly, let me get this out-of-the-way, I hated Rosie in this book. The person who was a bit of lightness in TRP now comes across as frankly a bit of a tool. I wouldn’t be friends with her. In this book, not many people are. She is a 30 year old woman with a lot of problems but this book fails to address any of them, or explore them more than in an explanatory for-the-sake-of-the-plot way, and that, as a woman of a similar age and circumstance, is a shame. But this isn’t her book.
Don, however, is just one of my favourite fictional characters. In TRP we saw a man living independently and doing fine, TRE has Don showing himself as a sort of Brownie, fixing everything around him because of his ability to just get on with the job without being swayed by emotions. Don is more vulnerable in TRE that in TRP, because he has a lot more to lose, and this makes him a more rounded character that the Don we got to know in TRP.
The book is also about men, and their relationships with each other and their partners. Straight men, straight middle-aged men, are not exactly known for being characters in books that explore emotions and consequences of emotions. This book looks at fatherhood, and friendship, and is all the sweeter for it.
TRE takes a LONG time to get going, the second half of the to be honest occasionally over-long novel is vastly superior to the first, but if you loved Don then it is worth a punt. If you are looking for laughs and prat falls however, this isn’t the book for you. But maybe, for us who know and love people like Don, or are people like Don, that isn’t such a bad thing.