Friday, November 13, 2015

Simsion, Graeme (The Rosie Project)

At first, I was oddly offended by the concept of this book. The stilted manner in which it was written (for a reason, naturally), combined with what seemed to be a manner of making fun of our protagonist, was pushing all the wrong buttons in me.

But, about halfway through it grew on me. Probably because the plot takes an amusing turn, and at the same time, our protagonist begins his actual "hero's journey", that of envisioning a potentially better way of surviving in a world that seems mostly strange to him. There are ups and downs in this process, as there should be, and he tries things that simply will not work for a person with his behavioral disorder. I was sufficiently pleased with the ending to believe that the writer is not blowing smoke at us but does understand the difficulties faced by folks on the far side of the autism spectrum.

I think what I enjoyed the most about the book (and these come towards the end) are the following:
- Empathy is not the same thing as love. Love is illogical, it defies reason, it doesn't "mean" something in particular. You don't have to cry in movies to feel love. This isn't something the world needs to understand per se, but it is very helpful to understand as an individual.
- From the point of view of people with autistic tendencies, the rest of the world looks really weird and people act super weird. In other words, "normal" people think autists act strange, and tit for tat. The world would run a lot smoother if more people recognized that. If nothing else, we'd have... wait for it... more empathy.

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