The Rosie Result is the third book in a series about the autistic geneticist, Don Tillman. I really enjoyed this book. It was very refreshing to read as one can clearly spot the autistic voices that were listened to when writing this book. I read the first two books (The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect) before I knew I was autistic. I thought much of Don’s thought process made sense in those books, and much of the information was interesting, but I also didn’t know anything about autism.
In The Rosie Result, I appreciated that Hudson (Don and Rosie’s 11-year-old son) is clearly his own person and that he is still interpreted through Don’s perspective, like everything else in the series. This leaves ample room to portray the character development of Hudson and allows Simsion to compare both Don’s and Hudson’s experiences of living in a neurotypical society. The subject of autism is not “tip-toed” around, and Don is not the only autistic person in the book, unlike media that often portray autistic characters as merely “quirky” rather than autistic.
I’m not going to spoil it, but there’s one point in this book where I truly felt the #ActuallyAutistic community was heard. It beautifully describes the lengths we go to be liked and valued by others, and the struggles we may hide in order to do so.
This book seems highly accessible to non-autistic people who don’t know much about autism but would like to know more about how autistic people experience the world. They may learn about the turmoil we often go through to be accepted by others. I hope it gives non-autistic parents understanding of society’s unreasonable expectations that are put on autistic kids (and adults), and the often damaging narrative that is given to parents about their autistic children either from school, or from other parents themselves.
This books flips the narrative on who should be expected to change in our society. I honestly read The Rosie Result as an ode to autistic people. Many times in the previous books, Don’s statements are meant to provoke laughter due to his misinterpretations (not necessarily at him, but at the situation). In this book, when this happens, it’s often not meant to provoke laughter, but rather to give insight to what it feels like to be an autistic person, and to show what Don has previously gone through in his life. I really appreciated that subtle shift in tone as the book progressed. It felt like we were required to empathize with Don. It wasn’t an option not to – as everything is seen through his perception and experiences. Not to say the book isn’t funny, of course! It’s written in a very similar format and style as the previous two. But I do think the scope of this book was widened to show more of the emotional undertone of Don, which helps us reflect on Hudson’s experiences as well. I appreciated Hudson’s character development throughout the book, as well as Rosie’s struggle with working in academia while being a mother. This was very much my favorite book of the series.
One caveat: I will say that there are a lot of characters in this book. Only a few times did I not remember who someone was, but I had read the previous two books before (quite a few years ago though). I don’t think it would be difficult to read as a standalone, just know that there may be characters that were in prior books who you may not know. Most of the background of previous characters isn’t important though and Simsion often provides the necessary information for the story. Only one important subplot involves the background of a character from the previous books.
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The hardcopy of The Rosie Result by Graeme Simsion is out on May 28th, 2019 in the US.
GoodReads: The Rosie Result