Rage Reading Rosie *book review*

WARNING: This review contains a few spoilers but they are kind of irrelevant since this is one of those books where the storyline is kind of bland and you’re mostly reading for the dialogue and interaction between characters. If that makes sense. Other people interpret books this way too, right…? Shit now I’m doubting myself…

Anyway… There are casually mentioned spoilers here…

Book: The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect

Author: Graeme Simsion

My Rating: 3

I’ve barely read a thing all year and I’m going to go ahead and put a tiny bit of the blame on these two books. Is that fair? No. Not at all. But it’s still kind of true…

I started the year reading The Rosie Project because a friend recommended it to me. Here is where I take responsibility. When she was describing it, immediately in my head I imagined this beautiful Irvingesque tale in which the plight of the autistic male is handled with grace and respect. In my head this book would educate and entertain the reader. How marvellous! How fortuitous that I had found out about this book! The premise sounded absolutely wonderful!

Oh…curse my expectations…

You see… Autism has been my special interest for almost three years now. For almost three years I have held this subject in my hand while trying to understand it both objectively as well as personally. It’s been there. Lurking. Demanding my attention at every turn. For almost three years.

And this story?

Well this story pissed me off.

And maybe that’s not really fair. It’s not badly written. The story isn’t bad. It’s mildly humorous. Well…I can see that it’s supposed to be funny even though it didn’t make me laugh. As I said: It made me rage… Maybe others will find it funny?

The problem is (might be?) that I am a fiercely protective momma bear and so obviously such a book would make me struggle. You see, I feel like this entire series is a little  (lot) mean-spirited even though it almost convincingly pretends not to be…

You know how in The Big Bang Theory everyone is kind of a little mean to Sheldon? And you’re (I’m!) always just sitting there going “if Sheldon was my friend I would be nicer to him” because seriously after so many years how on earth are you still so exasperated by his actual personality quirks? You know? (Or am I alone in not finding his straight-forwardness offensive?)

Well this book is sort of like that. And honestly Don is a little bit The Australian Sheldon so there’s that smidge of an annoying aspect too.

The thing is…. None of it really makes sense. It doesn’t make sense that Rosie decides to marry Don. It doesn’t make sense that she decides to have a baby with him (without his input grrrrr!!!!!) and then she gets all crisis-y and blegh about it afterwards like oh what a terrible father he’s going to make so oh well let me have at it alone. And it doesn’t make sense that Don has not figured out that he is autistic. He’s socially awkward, he’s not an idiot…

You see… I have this thing. I have to believe you. When I’m reading you I have to believe you. And it’s got nothing to do with realistic (I believed the whole Harry Potter series for instance) but everything to do with being told the book’s truth by the author. Don’t lie to me.

Then again, it could be my own insecurities interpreting this series as a lie. I mean, after all, this very pure standard that I have means that in my own writing I must avoid the lying and what if my subconscious just freaks out every now and then and starts interpreting other works as lies purely because I am afraid that my own work is a lie?

I don’t know…

What I do know is that while I read these two books (a third one has just been released as well – probably I will read it too) I just couldn’t help but feel like something was off. And so as I read it it made me angry. Which made me not want to read it. Which in turn made me not read because I wasn’t letting myself read other things until I finished Rosie and then… Well then it was September and I’d only read one and a half books…

Thankfully I have finally finished the second book. It was frustrating but I did it.

The thing is, autistic representation is so important and while I can appreciate the effort here I cannot help but think that the job of it isn’t being taken seriously enough.

Then again… It’s not Graeme Simsion’s job to take it seriously. He created what he wanted to create and that’s actually perfectly fine. He just didn’t create what I wanted to read.

Apparently what I want to read doesn’t exist… At least not so far.

Perhaps you could recommend something? Or if you’ve read this series let me know what you thought?

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