The good: Don, Rosie and Hudson are wonderful.
The not-so-good: The end of the trilogy.
Why I chose it: Don. Rosie. Enough said.
Publisher: Text Publishing
Setting: Melbourne, Australia
Rating: 10 out of 10
Books like The Rosie Result are testimony to why I love to read. This series has always sparked joy in my head to the point where I’ve hidden behind a door to sneak in a few pages. Fortunately, I didn’t need to do that with The Rosie Result! Don Tillman is such an engaging character and newcomer Hudson (his and Rosie’s son) is just as much fun.
The story opens in New York City where Don is doing something familiar – preparing dinner. As friends Dave and Sonia arrive, Rosie finds out she’s been successful in getting a job. That job happens to be back in Australia and Hudson isn’t happy. (Nor is Don after accidentally ending up with an oyster knife in the knee). Back in Australia, it’s sort of business as usual for the Tillman-Jarman family. Don is back at the university and Rosie must deal with some familiar slimeballs. But after the Genetics Lecture Outrage, Don finds himself in trouble with the university. His solution is to work part time and be the leader of a new project, the Hudson Project. Don will teach Hudson how to fit in and more importantly, blend in so he doesn’t suffer a similar high school fate to Don. Oh, and Don will open a cocktail bar on the side. As always, it’s never easy but equal parts sweet, heart wrenching and plain funny.
One of Graeme Simsion’s many talents is to introduce new characters to the story and make it feel like they’ve been there forever. Hudson is the obvious choice. He’s a little bit Don (which worries Don a lot) but has the practicalities of Rosie. He’s an endearing character who stands on his own. While the suggested diagnosis of autism by his teacher (the very Aussie named Rabbit Warren) sends Don and Rosie into somewhat of a tailspin, Hudson takes it all a bit more in his stride. He has a quiet maturity that Don and Rosie don’t always consider as they realise their son is growing up and they can’t protect him forever. Hudson’s friend Blanche is also quite unique and her own issues cause both trouble for Hudson in addition to a good friendship.
One of the major themes explored in The Rosie Result is autism. It’s always been suggested that Don has traits of autism spectrum disorder but Don himself has never questioned it until now when it’s suggested that Hudson may have it. Different ‘sides’ of the debate – intense counselling to ‘fit in’ to ‘normal’ society and being as you are are explored as Don and Rosie explore diagnosis, treatment and traits without telling Hudson. There’s a fear in Don and Rosie that their son will not be accepted or part of normal society. The Hudson Project aims to minimise some of this in Don’s loving, unique fashion but at times Don and Rosie watch Hudson like a hawk labelling his every move. The result is more complex than you expect with drama and laughs. Simsion has written the perfect ending to the trilogy – it just all fits beautifully without the what ifs. I’m sad to see the end, but who knows what happens once Hudson grows up? Or when Don branches out into standardised meal plans?