About halfway through Graeme Simsion’s follow-up to The Rosie Project, I paused to wonder if perhaps too much of Don Tillman wasn’t a good thing.
In the sequel The Rosie Effect, we find Don and Rosie living happily together in New York City. Since the end of the last novel, the newly married couple is adjusting to life together when Rosie announces that she’s expecting a baby and their lives are thrown into turmoil. As Don wrestles with the question of how to be a supporting husband to Rosie during this experience and how to be a good father, he makes an increasing number of well-intentioned but misguided choices that begin to drive a wedge between himself and the love of his life. One such choices finds Don landing in hot water because he wants to observe children and parents interacting so he head out to a local playground and starts recording them on his cell phone.
Part of what made The Rosie Project work so well as that while it hit many of the predictable marks for a romantic comedy novel, Simsion gave us a reason to be invested in Don and Rosie and to root for these two to finally get together. In the sequel, Simsion attempts to tear them down in order to build them back up as a couple and potential parents, but those steps end up making Don look less than noble and Rosy less than pleasant. Thankfully, the novel includes a large group of friends for Don (it’s grown to six now for our hero) to help redeem Don a bit and to at least attempt to stick the landing when the novel reaches its conclusion. (How much of the landing it sticks will be up to readers. This one wasn’t entirely convinced, but was entirely relieved).
Longer than its predecessor, the middle part of this novel feels a bit extended or like its trying to pile on a few more misguided attempts by Don to salvage his relationship with Rosie when all this reader was looking for was for these two crazy kids to find a way to get back together and to watch Don’s loving attempts to support Rosie and wrap his head around the notion of becoming a parent play out.
It could be that after being pleasantly surprised by The Rosie Project, I was expecting too much from the sequel. But I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. This one is good and certainly if Simsion wants to visit Don and Rosie again as parents to a newborn, I certainly will pick that book up and read it. But hopefully that book will be more of the Project and less of the the Effect.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received an ARC of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review.