Reading guide for The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

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The Rosie Effect

by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion X
The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
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  • First Published:
    Dec 2014, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2015, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elena Spagnolie
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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. At the beginning of The Rosie Effect, we see that Don has made significant progress in allowing more flexibility in his life. What do you think is the most impressive change?

  2. Don notes that Rosie is able to compartmentalize her organization skills. She is completely in control of her thesis research materials, but can't keep her bath towel in the same place. What do you compartmentalize in your life? How are you different at work versus home?

  3. Gene's theories about relationships are heavily influenced by his job as the head of the psychology department in Australia. Do you agree that there is always an inequality of social capital in marriages? How does Don's genetic research filter into his approach to love?

  4. Discuss the scene in which Rosie tells Don that she is pregnant. How does Rosie want Don to react? How do you think his sister's fatal ectopic pregnancy affects his feelings about her pregnancy?

  5. Don has multiple mechanisms in place to maintain order. He meticulously plans meals and knows exactly how to deploy his Gregory Peck impression for optimal results. Do you have any similar systems or habits that you rely on to help your life stay organized?

  6. While tending bar, Don is offended when a patron compares him to Dustin Hoffman's character, Raymond, in Rain Man. Discuss the differences between Don and Raymond, and the pros and cons of using the word "autistic" as an umbrella term.

  7. Discuss Don's ability to sympathize versus his ability to empathize. He is able to excuse his former landlord's unpleasantness by recognizing that his life is unrewarding. However, he finds it incredibly difficult to step into Phil's shoes and imagine how he felt when Rosie's mother died. Do you think this problem is exclusive to Don?

  8. Gene tells Don not to fetishize parenthood; that children are just like little adults who don't yet know the rules. Do you agree with this advice? Discuss the rules that children must learn and the rules that they shouldn't.

  9. As he and Rosie hurdle toward her due date, Don realizes that change is unstoppable. He thinks change is necessarily a bad thing. Do you think change can be good? Discuss examples of good changes.

  10. Discuss the symbolism of the eternity ring that belonged to Rosie's mother. What does it mean to Phil, and now to Don? Do you think it's significant that it is stuck on Rosie's finger as she considers ending her marriage?

  11. Lydia ends up being a huge obstacle to Don as he tries to prepare for the baby. Discuss how her past experiences bias her against Don. Who else in the novel is unfairly biased? Is Don?

  12. After failing to reunite Gene and Claudia, and providing lovely advice to a bullied Eugenie, Don must accept that Gene's lies went so far that he couldn't turn back. At what point did Don's lies become too deep? What about Rosie's? What would you have done differently?

  13. Discuss the relationship between George and his son, who both abused drugs. How much can a parent blame themselves for their child's shortcomings? At what point must that child be held responsible for their own actions?

  14. Has Rosie changed in this book? Some readers have suggested that Rosie is unreasonably intolerant of Don: "She knew what she was getting herself into." Do you agree?

  15. Rosie tells Don that the things that she loves about him as a husband are precisely the things that will make him an incompetent father. Why do you think she changes her mind?

  16. Discuss Don's comment in the New York Post: "Of course lesbian parents are not average. Hence we should not expect average outcomes. But it would seem un-American to seek averageness." What is the distinction between averageness and tradition? How are Don and Rosie exceptional? Do you think Hudson will be exceptional?

Enhance Your Book Club

  1. In honor of Don and Rosie's little inside joke, host a Gregory Peck movie night and rent To Kill a Mockingbird and Roman Holiday. Try out your best Gregory Peck impressions on one another.

  2. Not everyone can be as adept in the kitchen as Don, but there's no harm in trying. The first meal he cooks Rosie is "scallops with a mirepoix of carrots, celeriac, shallots, and bell peppers and a sesame oil dressing." Here's a recipe that comes close: http://frenchfood.about.com/od/maindishes/r/Seared-Scallops-In-Sage-Cream-Recipe.htm. And don't forget to pair with a nice pinot gris.

  3. The Dead Kings isn't a real band, but Café Wha? is a real place in Manhattan. Read up on its incredible music history and then plan a night to visit your local music club to support bands, new and old!


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Simon & Schuster. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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