Tuesday, 2 April 2019

The Rosie Result, by Graeme Simsion.

           Professor of Genetics Don Tillman is very happy with his life at the beginning of the final book of Graeme Simsion’s marvellous trilogy:  he is still married to Rosie, The Most Beautiful Woman in the World, who has now gained all her qualifications for new medical research into various mental illnesses;  he has a satisfying job at New York’s Columbia University;  their 11 year old son Hudson – after a few false starts – is doing well academically (for the most part:  maths and English excellent, handwriting illegible and sports terrible), and Don has firm, loyal friends.  For the first time in his life, he fits in.
            But Rosie inadvertently changes everything when her application for a position as lead researcher on a medical team in Melbourne is accepted.  In what seems an obscenely short time, Don’s little family is ensconced in a three bed two bath house in suburban Melbourne, and Hudson is not adjusting at all to his new environment and new school.  Meltdowns, formerly few and far between, are occurring often:  Hudson, because of his American accent and complete lack of interest in sports (he’d rather read books on Space Travel) is  bullied by his class-mates, the ‘neurotypicals’ (that’s thee an me, folks!).  Something has to be done, and Don, who went through the same agonising situations when he was the same age and knows just how damaging they can be, determines that he is the one to do it:  his brilliant, atypical, ‘your son has autism’ boy will receive the maximum benefit from Don’s own adolescent Baptism of Fire:  Hudson will fit in if they both die in the attempt!
            Thus begins Don’s efforts to help Hudson lead a normal life by showing him all the pitfalls of ‘being weird’ and how to avoid them, including tuition on How to Ride a Bike – but Hudson has his own ideas about what he considers normal, and his own solutions to his problems of not fitting in. He’s brave enough to acknowledge that he’s On the Spectrum, and eventually, confident enough in his new learned skills to think that maybe ‘neurotypicals’ might like to fit in with him for a change.
            This is such a lovely story that I am saddened to think that this will be the last we read of Don and his singular little family, but Mr Simsion has ended his trilogy at the right time – leaving us wanting more, and wishing to show more tolerance to those of us who don’t always fit in.  SIX STARS.

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