First came The Rosie Project, followed by The Rosie Effect, and now Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are back in The Rosie Result, a tale as important and thought-provoking as it is entertaining.
In this, the third, and probably final instalment, Don and Rosie have returned to Australia. Here they must face their most important challenge yet: preparing their socially awkward son, Hudson, for High School. Fans of the earlier books may be disappointed that Rosie takes a step into the background for this one, as the focus is mainly on how Don who faced similar issues himself (and is still prone to making social errors, often with quite hilarious results), is willing to take on the task – but it is not one he can do alone, and will require assistance from friends both old and new. And it will also raise significant questions about finding one’s own identity, and what it really means to ‘fit in’.
Whilst the earlier books fleetingly mentioned autism, The Rosie Result delves more deeply into the topic, and what it might mean to the characters, to receive a formal diagnosis. It also challenges some of the preconceptions – all whilst maintaining an entertaining, engaging read.
The cast are, as usual, a quirky and eclectic mix. My favourite was Hudson’s friend, Blanche, who must deal not only with the obstacles of albinism, but also having a homeopath (with anger issues) for a father. There is also a level of madcap craziness, as Don’s tendency to think scientific over socially-acceptable leads to a few misadventures, such as the Genetics Lecture Outrage – but it is thankfully not too heavy on the schadenfreude.
For a read that appears light on the surface, The Rosie Result contains a lot of depth, and makes one think a lot about identity, about the influence of “the school years” on future life, and about the friends that we choose. It challenges preconceptions about those who are different, and also encourages acceptance: both of others and your own identity. Overall, I would view this is as the strongest book in the series, and a very fitting finale.
Reviewed by Angela Oliver
The Rosie Result
by Graeme Simsion
Published by Text Publishing