Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Meeting of March 21, 2016

Our book this month was The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion, Jolene's choice. We met at Carla's home. She served a lovely array of hot and cold hors d'oeuvres, topped off the evening with Pavlova and fruit, in honour of Australia, Simsion's home. Shirley, Beth, Carla, Janet, Colette, and Jolene attended.

Simsion has had quite a varied career, ranging from information systems consultant to wine distributor. He holds a PhD in data modeling. He has won several literary awards and is currently finishing a new novel, The Best of Adam Sharp. He and his wife Anne are planning to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, to research a joint book. 

The Rosie Effect picks up where The Rosie Project left off, telling the story of Don Tillman, his wife Rosie, and their friends and family. This time, Rosie is pregnant, and Don gets into all kinds of mishaps as he misreads social cues in his attempt to learn how to be a good father. Problems in his relationship with Rosie abound because he fails to communicate with her, all in a misguided effort to keep from stressing her during her pregnancy. 

Club opinions about the book were evenly divided. On the negative side, some were disappointed with it, especially after enjoying the first book so much. Comments were that this story was frustrating, even stressful, more contrived, less convincing, especially the communication breakdown between spouses. On the positive side, others felt that it was perhaps a mistake to over-analyze the story, that it was more appropriate to enjoy the comic elements and to appreciate Don as a charming, guileless romantic hero with a good heart. All of us were able to connect the characters and events to our own lives to a certain degree, though critics thought the Asperger's elements were overdone, especially in the first half of the novel.

In summary, our club comments seem to reflect quite well some of the professional reviews of the book, where opinions are also varied.