I’m pretty sure everyone liked The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. Some of us really liked the book. I suppose there is a spectrum of likeability. I hear and remember comments. With fifteen smiling and reflective faces around the table, I make a judgment call and record it here. We didn’t take a survey.
Perhaps our discussion seemed quieter because we were on the stage. Sounds were muted and the air had a foggy quality—diffused light from high ceilings and shadows behind thick dark curtains. When I mentioned we were meeting in the theater, one member had worried that our group had gotten so big we needed an auditorium!
When I asked for someone to offer the first response, quiet chatter reigned. Finally, one member drew our attention and our discussion began. She found the book to be utterly believable and lifelike. Another had never before heard of Asperger Syndrome. Yet another described his experience with an obviously much-loved brother.
We spent much of the hour discussing spectrum disorders. Not just autism, though mainly so. The autistic stage is universal. Autism was not identified until 1944. Do all people with Aspergers have a good memory? Most also have SID (Sensory Input Disorder). Early training and socialization make a difference. Why are so many more boys diagnosed with Autism? Some previously diagnosed schizophrenics are now found to have autism. And in the future it may be schizophrenia again. How do we really know? Is psychology a science?
Bill Gates. Vladamir Putin. Steve Jobs. Our family members, friends, maybe that obnoxious man or woman we try to avoid. And my favorite – Mr. Darcy.
Loveable to some of us, obnoxious to others, Don Tillman described communication issues that made us laugh out loud. One member said the book had been written as a play and polished over eight years. Even though the main characters were from Australia, it seemed very American. Those who listened to the audio book said that the reader sounded American.
We discussed a lot of other books and movies, although none of the same ones Don Tillman mentions. Several of us mentioned The Big Bang Theory television show and the ever-more culturally recognizable Sheldon. Now our group has Don Tillman. And we are part of an even larger group. As of today, Amazon had 6,873 reviews of The Rosie Project—4072 five-stars ratings and 2034 four-star ratings.
Working in a library, I’ve had people ask about the value of fiction. Is it just entertainment, escape, relaxation? Aren’t we any different now that we have read this book, alone and as a group? Do we view the world any differently? Are we less biased or more accepting? The Rosie project was an engaging, easy to read story. Although it’s main character is Gregory Peck-handsome and perhaps not truly as awkward and obnoxious as many people we encounter, the issues raised are pertinent and brought us together. We didn’t always agree, but we listened and shared, exercised our brains and our hearts.
- Other works discussed:
- Big Bang Theory (television show)
- Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
- Defending Jacob by William Landay
- House Rules by Jodi Piccoult
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- Some very interesting read-a-likes — just ask at your local library!