I’m a huge fan of the Don Tillman series, having read and loved the previous books (The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect). Unsurprisingly, this book lived up to my high expectations. The story continues around eleven years later, with Don and Rosie’s child, Hudson, no longer a newborn.
The Rosie Result brings a fresh angle to the series, with Don Tillman now being a father facing career trouble due to public outrage. Don is seen through a lens of autism due to the particular way he does things and he’s pressured by others to identify himself as autistic. Moreover, his son is facing issues at school, with the threat of being rejecting from high school due to the frequent meltdowns.
What’s great about this book is that it provides an authentic, autistic perspective. In this case, the narrator (i.e. Don, the father) can identify with the son and understand the issues that he encounters at school. They both experience the pressure from the neurotypical majority to fit in and change their behaviour. This shifts the focus from the neurotypical perspective that autistic people are abnormal to the genuine experience of how autistic minds work, and how the neurotypical majority create a hostile environment, requiring others to fit in.
In the book, Don says something that struck me:
“Neurotypicals criticised autistic people for lacking empathy — towards them — but seldom made any effort to improve their empathy towards autistic people.”
This book celebrates neurodiversity and is a great learning tool for parents, educators, psychologists and the likes. It brings awareness that what neurotypicals is best might be counterproductive. As an autistic person, it gave me a lot to think about, to process about how frequently I feel like I don’t belong, and that after all, I am not the problem — society’s lack of flexibility is.
Apart from the autistic aspect, the story is extremely engaging, and has Don’s charm written all over it. I enjoyed it even more than the previous two books — which I had rated as five-stars each. The writing is well-researched and there are multitudes of personalities and characters that grow and change so well across time. They are quite representational and include am impeccable variety of characters, such as Gary the homeopath who refuses to immunise his children. There’s a warm sensation in how Don looks at the world and how he assumes honesty from others and adds to the narrational charm he possesses.
There are several reasons why I’d recommend this book. It’s a great fictional and literary work. The representation is genuine. Characters are well-developed. And, I believe, one doesn’t need to have read the previous two books to follow this story, although I would obviously suggest reading at least The Rosie Project as it helps us fall deeper in love with Don’s charisma.
I have received an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for an honest review. The book will be published in the UK on 4th April 2019, and can be preordered here: The Rosie Result