“‘It’s a fine line between encouraging and shaping, but it’s our job to find it.’”
Life for Don Tillman is ever so slowly starting to come together. After having navigated his way through the trials of adulthood and romance in the two previous novels, the quirky and socially awkward Professor of Genetics—whose personality is somewhat reminiscent of Sheldon Cooper’s—classifies his life essentially as perfect. He, his wife, Rosie and their son, Hudson, are living as optimal a life as Don deems possible in New York.
But in critically acclaimed author and playwright Graeme Simsion’s final installment The Rosie Result (Text Publishing), Don, World’s Best Problem-Solver, is about to encounter his next set of challenges.
After Rosie’s job moves the family out of New York to Melbourne, Australia, the change in social conditions and schedule has thrown 11-year-old Hudson into disarray. Forced to relocate into a new city, a new school and a new life, Hudson is struggling with the many large changes.
With his sudden meltdowns at school, his social awkwardness and his affinity for verbally pointing out others’ grammatical mistakes, Hudson’s adjustment into his pre-teen classrooms proves to be more difficult than either Don or Rosie could have predicted. The last thing that Don wants is for Hudson to have to deal with the same issues he dealt with growing up, so with the help of friends and family, Don cooks up a plan—aptly named “The Hudson Project”—to help mitigate his son’s social isolation.
But things may not turn out to be as simple as Don had originally thought. Because of Hudson’s temperament, his teachers are concerned that he may be autistic, and they encourage Don and Rosie to get him properly diagnosed. While taking this advice may finally provide the family with an answer to their questions, Don and Rosie can’t help but wonder whether a diagnosis would truly benefit Hudson, or only further ostracize him from his peers.
With this question at the heart of the novel, Simsion carefully crafts the dilemmas of parenthood. Don and Rosie constantly grapple with the question that all parents must contend with: how do we help our children fit in without forcing them to lose sight of who they are?
In a novel that explores the countless issues surrounding autism, Simsion confronts stereotypes with humor and understanding. Don’s almost painful awareness of his own social ineptitude starkly contrasts Hudson’s remarkable, witty character. Despite the similarities the two share, they couldn’t be more individualistic, making their relationship both heartfelt and humorous.
While Don is set on fixing Hudson, it is perhaps Hudson who helps fix Don. Despite being a social outcast in the beginning of the novel, Hudson makes it his own initiative to learn and grow into his own identity; his character development from a shy, emotionally volatile pre-teen to a surprisingly mature and keenly self-aware individual is remarkable and touching. It is Hudson’s self awareness that teaches Don of self-acceptance—a stepping stone that can be achieved at any age.
In a world that paradoxically encourages and secludes individuality, Simsion encourages readers to see the strengths in what is often considered to be a weakness. Everyone is quirky, everyone is a little bit different and sometimes, it may even take a child’s unique perspective on the world to shine a light on the importance of individuality.
Entertaining and thought-provoking, The Rosie Result is the emotionally raw conclusion to an endearing series, and it will surely leave readers satisfied.
The Rosie Result is now available for purchase.
ABOUT GRAEME SIMSION:
Graeme Simsion is a writer of screenplays, short stories, novels and a couple of short plays. He is also an occasional producer of films – primarily those for which he is screenwriter. He was formerly an IT specialist (data modeling) and founder of a business and IT consultancy. He is also the co-founder of two other businesses, Roy’s Antiques and Pinot Now. He is the husband of Professor Anne Buist, psychiatrist and novelist, and father of two. Lastly he is a resident of Fitzroy (Melbourne) Australia.