Sunday, July 31, 2016

Book Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Photo by Leanne Dyck

The Rosie Project is a humorous (love) story with a familiar protagonist.


If you watch the television show Big Bang Theory, you will undoubtedly notice the similarities between Don Tillman and Sheldon Cooper.  
'Don Tillman has a brilliant scientific mind , but social situations confound him.' -from book jacket
Don works as a University professor. 
'Sheldon...[is] a scientific genius who works at a local university and shows several characteristics typical to those who have Asperger's, such as an attention to detail, repetitive actions and a lack of social skills.' -Why Our Autism Community Loves Sheldon Cooper? by Kerry Magro

Does Sheldon have Asperger's? 
'[W]hile Sheldon's personality...certainly has traits in common with people with Asperger's, [Bill Pardy (Big Bang Theory co-creator] would feel uncomfortable labeling Sheldon as such...There's the danger that the other characters' insults about Sheldon's behavior--in other words, 90 percent of the show's comedy--would seem mean if they were mocking a medical condition as apposed to generic eccentricity.'-Reader mail:  Does Sheldon From 'Big Bang Theory' have Asperger's by Alan Sepinwall/The Star-Ledger
 Does Don have Asperger's?
'Claudia asked whether I had enjoyed the Asperger's lecture... 'Did the symptoms remind you of anyone?' she asked...
They were an almost perfect description of Laszlo Heveki in the Physics Department.' (p. 24)
But later says, with regards to his difficulties in finding the perfect woman,   'Nothing would change the fault in my brain that made me unacceptable.' (p. 302) So it seems that he realizes that his brain is "abnormal". 

Graeme Simsion's, author of The Rosie Project, response to the question:  '[H]e's a quirky guy who probably would be diagnosed as being on the Autism spectrum -- but I don't claim to be an expert.' -the Classy Bird, the Penguin Random House South Africa blog

Humour arises from Don's inability to comprehend what is happening around him. 
'Gene was at the lectern of the darkened theatre, still talking, apparently oblivious to time, responding to a question about funding. My entrance had allowed a shaft of light into the room and I realized that the audience's eyes were now on me, as if expecting me to say something.
'Time's up,' I said. "I have a meeting with Gene.'
People immediately started getting up, and I observed the Dean in the front row with three people in corporate costumes. I guessed that they were there as potential providers of finance... Gene is always trying to solicit money for research... It is not an area I involve myself in.' (p. 21)
When asked how he felt about using autism/Asperger's as a source of humour, Graeme Simsion answered:  'Don is a person with big strengths (high intelligence) and weaknesses (poor social skills). I see him as atypical rather than disabled. Most stories, drama or comedy, require the hero to overcome a weakness to achieve their goal. Comedy arises when the hero is seriously under-equipped for the journey. And sometimes Don's view of the world makes more sense than ours. So far, the novel has been very well received by people with Asperger's, their families and organisations. Many have commented that they appreciate the socially-challenged person being the hero and the person we identify with rather than someone for the real hero to learn from (as in, for example, Rain Man). No doubt there will be other views but if the book prompts discussion, all the better.' -the Classy Bird, the Penguin Fandom House South Africa blog


There's a link between autism and genius by Kimberly Stephens and Joanne Ruthsatz (New York Post)

Autism and Genius:  A New Study Says They May Share a Genetic Link by Jamie Pacton 

Next post:  Sunday, August 8th (published at approximately 5 PM PST)
Some "normal" people pity the disabled. 
Does this sense of pity arises from a feeling that disabled people must live without? Is this always the case? Or can a disabled person live a life of abundance? How?
These questions lead me to write 'What Matters'.

Photo by Leanne Dyck
 Picture Books in Canada
 The Writers' Union of Canada
Writing for Children Competition 2016: Deadline July 31
Click this link for more information 

"Bim:  a big dog in a small package"
Photo by Leanne Dyck
Sharing my author journey...
When I spot a branch, when I think there it is -- that's my comfortable next, a breeze carries me even higher. 

A couple of days ago, I re-read a rejection letter. In brief, the publisher saw merit in my writing but were publishing very few picture books. 

Why was I continuing to send them something they didn't want?

Because I'd identified them as my comfortable nest.

After re-reading that letter, I realized it was time to send my manuscript to an even larger publishing house. 

It's unnerving to let the wind carry me. 

But what's the worse that can happen? That publisher sends me a rejection letter. 

And if they do, I'll just send my manuscript to another publisher and another and another. Until I receive an acceptance letter. All  I have to do is keep writing, keep revising, keep flying. Who knows where I'll land. 
"Flowers from my husband"
Photo by Leanne Dyck