This is the third (presumably the last?) of the “Rosie novels” by Graeme Simsion. The book is dedicated to “the autism community” and the protagonist is Don Tillman, genius genetics researcher and presumed “man with autism.”
Don Tillman considers himself the happiest man alive, but it took him long years of hard work to reach that pinnacle. He has satisfying and important work, a wife (Rosie) he adores and an eccentric ten-year-old son named Hudson. Circumstances surrounding his son’s education and his own experiences with armed authorities force Tillman into the shocking realization that if his possibly autistic son doesn’t acquire a good deal of “conventional” social saavy, he could blunder into situations that would be dangerous or fatal. Hudson must learn to navigate the world of the “neurotypicals”, whether or not it is rational.
Tillman shifts into problem solving mode, arranging to spend more time with Hudson and generating lists of needed skills, like how to throw a ball and dress like his peers. Hudson, in the meantime, comes up with a few projects of his own, like overcoming his fear of water and becoming a competitive swimmer.
This book takes on all kinds of “disability” related issues. One is semantics – how do you speak of a person who is autistic? What’s good and bad about having a “diagnosis”? What treatment is helpful or desirable? What “accommodations” should be made in school?
All of this is handled in a breezy style. I couldn’t stop reading, and I was cheering for Hudson (and his parents) all the way.
See my blog post of August 7, 2016, for information about Simsion’s earlier novel.
This is the second novel about the autistic genius Don Tillman and his brilliantly flamboyant wife Rosie. Don is still trying to figure out “normal people” and emotions. His wife’s unexpected pregnancy throws both wife and husband for a loop.
Simsion draws out the confusion extensively – hey, that’s what romantic comedy is all about! Along the way he creates some great characters. There’s Bud (baby under development), and Aaron the Air Marshal ( assigned to determine if Don’s autistic behavior means he’s going to blow up a flight to LA) and the B-team, three researchers dedicated to explicating the reactions of babies to lesbian mothering.
This book is wildly funny. Read it for good laughs! I hope for a sequel.
I read this novel because I watched someone react to it – she kept laughing. The premise (“it isn’t easy being autistic”) isn’t funny. I enjoyed The Rosie Project much more than I expected. It’s funny AND engaging.
Don Tillman is an autistic genius with a research and teaching appointment in genetics at an Australian university. He knows that his social skills are lacking. Deciding that life would be better with a wife, he designs a questionnaire that he expects will find him the ideal candidate. He also knows he needs practice in dating and socializing. A friend throws a “wildcard” candidate at him. Rosie fails to qualify according to several of Don’s criteria, but she attracts his interest.
Don refers to his quest as The Wife Project. Rosie has a quest of her own, The Father Project. She wants to find her genetic father.
Don and Rosie adventure boldly together, despite the confusion generated by their wildly different mental habits, and form an intense romantic bond.
Recently I read an article (on Facebook?) about the concept of “cognitive diversity”. It has been suggested that problem solving by groups would be improved by the intentional inclusion of people on the autism spectrum. In theory, the differences in the world view should improve decision making outcomes.
I have a further suggestion. What about brain injury survivors? Surely a person who makes a comeback from a major brain injury has a brain that is “different”, with major use of alternative pathways and other “work arounds”. Might he or she see something important in a situation that others would miss?
Meanwhile, I’m going to download Simsion’s next book, The Rosie Effect, against my next train trip or rainy afternoon. Or for when I need a good laugh.