Rosie and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary at the bar. It was the perfect venue – the result of a joint project to improve life for ourselves, our son and some of our friends, and, it appeared, for the increasing number of regular customers.
As I had on every anniversary, I gave Rosie a gift according to the published schedule: year 13 was lace. Hence high-quality running shoes with laces.
‘You need to exercise more,’ I said. ‘We’re getting older and it’s necessary to apply conscious effort to maintain health. Obviously I’d like us both to live as long as possible so that our marriage can continue.’
Rosie laughed. ‘Good save, And good present. I’d looked it up and I was expecting lacy…I don’t know, but it wouldn’t have been me.’
‘The present is acceptable then?’
commentary: I was an early adopter with The Rosie Project, Simsion’s first book, back in 2013: loved it, wrote about it, recommended it, gave it as a gift. (Full disclosure: after reading this, the 3rd entry in the series, I had to go back and read it again). It told the story of the wholly endearing Don, an academic with very little understanding of the world around him, and his search for a wife who will improve his life. Thank GOODNESS, and to the surprise of no-one, he found (SPOILER ALERT) Rosie, his ‘unsuitable’ friend who had shared his adventures. In the next book, The Rosie Effect, they move to New York and consider having a child.
Book 3 is a SPOILER, because their son Hudson is now 13, and having a few problems in life. The Rosie Result is the story of how his parents try to cope with that – it is, of course, hilariously funny, but it is also very serious on the subject of how we raise children and how we decide who is different, and from what. Simsion is a man, I would suspect, with strong views on that – but the book is remarkably un-judgemental and even-handed.
It has resemblances with one of my other favourite books of recent times, the magnificent Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny.
It made me laugh out many times. This is Don on literature:
One of my teachers had presented Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘If’ as a specification for manhood, with its claim that a fully configured male should be willing not only to gamble but to wager his entire pile of winnings on a single event with a 50% probability of success. Then and now, Kipling seemed to be describing a personality fault that would warrant professional intervention.Don on the difficulties of life:
Most people found dissection unpleasant, yet it was important to be able to perform unpleasant tasks. Changing nappies, cleaning up vomit and hugging relatives were LIFE SKILLS.If you found those funny, you will find a lot more in this book to make you laugh. But start with The Rosie Project to get the full force. As must be obvious, I loved this book, and found it immensely entertaining as well as thought-provoking on the subject of children.
Re: wedding anniversary themes. According to the lists, the sixth anniversary is sugar. A friend gave us a card, and said he had chosen it to fit. We searched and searched for the evidence – it was a beautiful art card, but with no sign of sugar or anything sweet in it. Eventually we gave up and asked him the secret. The card was from the Tate Museum in London, which was founded with money from the wealthy Mr Tate. And he had made his money from sugar, via the very famous English brand of Tate and Lyle (a name that really does mean sugar to Brits). I think Don would have been proud of him.
Very colourful pair of running shoes are by Balenciaga, and cost £600+. I don’t think for a moment that Don would have bought these shoes for Rosie, because why would that fashion name know anything about running? But I liked the look of them.
More likely is perhaps Pair 2, which are by Nike, are for running marathons, and cost around £200.
When the first Rosie book came out, back in 2013, I had trouble finding a picture of a jacket quite expensive enough for Don…
This is the fifth of Simsion’s books to feature on the blog: you can find the others by clicking here or on the label below.