Sunday, 28 September 2014

Dress Down Sunday: The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

published 2014




LOOKING AT WHAT GOES ON UNDER THE CLOTHES





The Orange Juice Problem occurred at the end of an already disrupted week. Another occupant of our apartment complex had destroyed both of my ‘respectable’ shirts by piggybacking on our washing load in the shared laundry facilities. I understood his desire for efficiency, but an item of his clothing had dyed our light-coloured washing a permanent and uneven shade of purple…. Rosie’s outer clothing, which was largely black, had not been affected. The problem was restricted to her underwear.

I argued that I had no objection to the new shade and that no-one else should be seeing her undressed, except perhaps a doctor, whose professionalism should prevent him or her from being concerned with aesthetics…

[Later] Sonia hd suggested purchasing Rosie high-quality decorative underwear for Christmas, noting that gifts of this kind were traditional in the early years of marriage. It was a brilliant idea, and had allowed me to replace the items damaged in the Laundry Incident, but the process of matching the stock at Victoria’s Secret with Rosie’s purple-dyed originals had been awkward. The gift was still in my office.




observations: Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project got a good write-up on the blog last year, and I re-read it recently and was even more enthusiastic: it is clever, well-structured and good-hearted as well as being hilariously funny. It outlined the efforts of Don, an Australian academic, to find a life partner. It’s (intentionally) obvious to the reader from very early on that the eventual partner is going to be Rosie, but the two of them have to find that out for themselves.

In this sequel, just published, the two of them have married and moved to New York, and Rosie gets pregnant. This gives rise to many hugely entertaining misunderstandings and bizarre events very much in the manner of the first book, all narrated in his trademark straight-faced manner by Don. The people around him try to explain to him what he may not be picking up from facial expressions, and just often enough he confounds them with his scientific knowledge, his complete lack of tact, or his sheer humanity. Gene comes to stay, and there are new characters: Sonia, above, is the wife of Dave the Baseball Fan from the previous book, and inexplicably gets involved in Don’s meetings with a social worker, pretending to be his wife:

I gave Sonia a look intended to remind her that she was supposed to be Rosie, who would not be defending weirdness and had not been raised in a small Italian village with poor hygiene. Of course, neither had Sonia. I suspected things were going to become confusing.
I thought The Rosie Effect was a wonderful book: satisfying, charming, kind about the world, very very funny. If you liked the first one, you will like this one too. If you haven’t read the first one you should.

The lady in the underwear is showing Marks and Spencer lingerie – wholesome and real-looking, she looked a lot better than the Victoria’s Secret models in purple.


******ADDED LATER: I am delighted to say that the Rosie author, Graeme Simsion, has tweeted to say that he 'loved the purple underwear and choice of 'real' model.'

22 comments:

  1. Moira - It's very good to hear you enjoyed this one so much. I do have to admit I really enjoy that deadpan humour! I've known academics like that, too - so true-to life. Oh, and I'm with you on choosing this model rather than VS. Among many other things, VS models never look like most of the everyday, real people I know.

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    1. I think one of the reason the books work so well is that we've all known or worked with someone like Don. The author says he thinks there's a bit of Don in most men...

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  2. I keep meaning to read The Rosie Project, have heard about it often. Now I will double star it on my TBR list. The wit is what compels me.

    But this photo of a real woman wearing underware. Never see that over here. On TV or in magazine ads, every underwear model weighs 90 pounds; none are women of color.

    So, I'm so glad to see this picture, made my day and reminds me that I must buy some underwear, preferably in hues of purple!

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    1. I know, isn't she fabulous? So beautiful and so real! The books are lovely, Kathy, very funny and charming.

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  3. I had to congratulate you on your beautiful choice of model for the underwear - so much better than the usual options. I love the humour in both of these books and The Rosie Project will always have a place on my bookshelf - great for when I need cheering up.

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    1. Thanks Cleo - I totally agree about the books, I can see myself re-reading them on a regular basis for cheering-up purposes. And, I have just added a note to the entry to say that Graeme Simsion himself has tweeted to say he likes my choice of picture...

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  4. You won me over!

    I just finished the first book I've read since August when I read three good ones, but I've been overdoing it on global TV crime fiction episodes. So much is available now, even at my library, an amazing development.

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    1. Do you mean you pick up the TV crime series at your library? On DVD? That's handy!

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  5. The book sounds fairly interesting but I doubt I'll go there, especially as I would feel the need to try the earlier one first, too much on already!

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    1. I'm betting that at some point someone might make you read this one, or the earlier one. All women think that men should read it - I just bought it for my son. And Bill Gates's wife pressed the first one on him...

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    2. Are you saying I need some enlightening?
      Is there a standard "man" book that all women should be forced to read, so we (men) are less misunderstood?

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    3. No no! It's because men and women react to it in different ways, and women can see that coming (men, perhaps, less so). Women see elements of their own partner in Don. Men sit there saying 'well he's perfectly reasonable and logical, I don't see what's funny about him - oh hang on, uh oh.'

      If you think of the right 'man' book let me know, and I promise to read it!

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    4. Oh ok - I thought you were implying I needed dragging out of my cave!

      I'll see if I cross paths with it then. Have you read anything by Mike Gayle? Me - not yet though he is on the stacks.

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    5. I don't think I've read Mike Gayle, I'll go and look him up...

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    6. Had a browse around a couple of Charity shops on my lunch break yesterday....picked up the first one!

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    7. Oh well done! Now you'll hate it and blame me. But it is a fun read.

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  6. Sounds interesting, sounds good, I will keep The Rosie Project in mind, although I am so seldom looking in non-mystery shelves when I look at books.

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    1. Well, it might cross your path some time - look out for it!

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  7. One random thought - why is he washing his shirts and Rosie's underwear with her black clothes? Wouldn't washing them with black clothes make them dingy and off colour anyway?

    And I say that as a man whose wardrobe imvolves washing loads in darks, whites, coloureds, and a separate load for red and purple...

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    1. I am glad you are taking this seriously. You have a very good point though, those two need to sort their washing issues out. And it is never good to mix the whites up with others....

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  8. I go to the library system online, and type into the catalog search the author or book or movie title I"m looking for. I find it -- if they have it -- and click to put it on hold. Then I'm on a list. I click for the item to be delivered to my branch. Then I wait. How long depends on how many people are before me on the list and how many copies the library has.

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    1. Libraries are so wonderful, even if you have to wait...

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