Dec 22 2014 9:30am

First Look: Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Effect (December 30, 2014)

The Rosie Effect by Graeme SimsionGraeme Simsion
The Rosie Effect
Simon and Schuster / December 30, 2014 / $25.99 print, $13.99 digital

The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Rosie Project, starring the same extraordinary couple now living in New York and unexpectedly expecting their first child. Get ready to fall in love all over again.

Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are back. The Wife Project is complete, and Don and Rosie are happily married and living in New York. But they’re about to face a new challenge because— surprise!—Rosie is pregnant.

Don sets about learning the protocols of becoming a father, but his unusual research style gets him into trouble with the law. Fortunately his best friend Gene is on hand to offer advice: he’s left Claudia and moved in with Don and Rosie.

As Don tries to schedule time for pregnancy research, getting Gene and Claudia to reconcile, servicing the industrial refrigeration unit that occupies half his apartment, helping Dave the Baseball Fan save his business, and staying on the right side of Lydia the social worker, he almost misses the biggest problem of all: he might lose Rosie when she needs him the most.

In The Rosie Project, Don and Rosie are charming as a mismatched couple navigating their way humorously through numerous hijinks before becoming partners. Now, in Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Effect, the second book in the series, the focus shifts a bit from Don and Rosie as a couple; the emphasis is more on Don’s shock and fright as he discovers that he going to become a father and how that affects his marriage.

In fact, the book is pretty much a bromance of Can this Marriage Be Saved.  Not only is Don’s marriage in jeopardy, but so are the marriages of Don’s best friends, Dave and Gene. Don must use his unique problem-solving skills to help his friends, plus solve his own marital crisis. Once Don becomes your friend or, in Rosie’s case, her husband, he is committed to you. It is these two things, Don’s shenanigans and his obvious caring for his friends that make The Rosie Effect a humorous and heartwarming book. The book not only entertains but reminds us that while we’re all uniquely different, love and friendship are always common ground.

The book opens with Rosie’s announcement that “they’re pregnant.” Since Rosie is on the pill with a 0.5 fail rate, Don doesn’t understand how this happened. Rosie admits that she stopped taking her pills, believing it would take months, maybe even years to become pregnant. Don is shocked that they are now in the position of bringing a child into the world without having the relevant discussion needed to make this decision and  has a meltdown of sorts upon hearing the news. He now has to convince Rosie that he is happy about the baby, when he’s not sure that he is. Of course he deals with it like he deals with anything—through research and facts:

There is a good evolutionary explanation for morning sickness in early pregnancy. In this critical stage of fetal development, with the mother’s immune system depressed, it is essential that she does not ingest any harmful substances. . . .I recommended that Rosie not take any drugs to interfere with the natural process.

“I hear you,” said Rosie. . . “I’ll leave the thalidomide in the cupboard.”

“You’ve got thalidomide?”

“Kidding. Don, kidding.”

“What about alcohol? How long have you been pregnant?”

“About three weeks, I guess. I’m going to stop now, okay?”

Her tone suggested that answering in the negative would not be a good idea. But here was a stunning example of the consequences of failing to plan.

“Have you smoked any cigarettes? Or marijuana?. . .

“Hey stop freaking me out. No. You know what you should be worried about? Steroids.”

“You’ve been taking steroids?”

“No, I haven’t been taking steroids. But you’re making me stressed. Stress creates cortisol, which is a steroid hormone; cortisol crosses the placental wall; high levels of cortisol in babies are associated with depression in later life. . . So your job for the next nine months is to make sure I don’t get stressed. Say it: Rosie must not get stressed. Go on.”

So in a way, Rosie is the instigator of Don’s actions. Now he will do everything possible to keep complications and difficulties a secret from Rosie. Even after being arrested for being a suspected pedophile after doing parenting research at a playground.   

With Don hiding so much, and of course he is not good at verbalizing his feelings, Rosie assumes the worst. It is difficult for Rosie to remember Don’s strengths and weaknesses, especially when her body is being flooded with pregnancy hormones. She just feels that he is not there for her or the baby especially when his actions come across as highhanded at times and misguided at others.

Even though Don is concerned with stressing out Rosie, he risks it for his best friend Gene. Gene, a known philander, has broken his renewed vow of fidelity to his wife, Claudia, and she has kicked him out. Since Gene will be doing his sabbatical work in NYC, Don wants him to stay with them even though Rosie dislikes him immensely.  He even tries to convince Claudia to forgive and forget:

Don, I don’t want to be harsh, but I’m a clinical psychologist and you’re not an expert on interpersonal relations. Maybe leave this one to me.

Not harsh. I have a successful marriage and yours has failed. Hence my approach is prima facie more effective.

It was approximately twenty seconds before Claudia’s response came through—the connection was obviously slow.

Maybe. I appreciate you trying. But I have to go. And don’t take your successful marriage for granted.

His friend Dave is also having his own martial crisis. Finally after years of trying IVF, his wife Sonia is pregnant. But it is not a happy time:

”Things aren’t going the way I’d hoped with Dave and me. We tried for so long and now he’s not interested.”

I knew why. Dave was stressed by work and the possibility of business failure, leading to the prospect of Sonia having to work in violation of her plans, leading to rejection of Dave as a suitable partner, leading to divorce, estrangement from his child, and all meaning disappearing from his life. We had reviewed this sequence many times.

Unfortunately, I could not share the state of the business with Sonia, as this might accelerate the process. 

You’ll be charmed as Don and his friends try to navigate through the difficult challenges of love and family.


Learn more about or order a copy of The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion, available December 30:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

Buy at iTunes

Buy at IndieBound



Scarlettleigh, blogger

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