(picture taken from Goodreads)
First Impression: This is really cute. It's a little funky, but I love how subtly Don connects with people. He really tries but doesn't understand basic motivations for actions. And yet, he draws a few people to himself with his wit and his ability to be selfless when faced with others' troubles. For instance, his decision to celebrate Daphne's birthday even when she starts to forget, or his attempts to help Rosie find her father even though he sees no benefit for himself. It's obvious that he's already crazy about her, but their interaction keeps meeting communication problems. Even though they fight every other track, I can't wait to see their relationship play out. Gene, on the other hand, is a horrible person. I imagine the only reason he and Don are friends is because he doesn't mind Don's straightforward questions and social confusion. Also, he probably likes feeling superior, sleeping around while Don has trouble even making friends. Pretty sure Claudia doesn't know or at least doesn't approve of Gene sleeping around.
Conclusion: I loved this book! This is probably my new favorite modern romance, although it's not as romance-focused as most of them. It would probably be one of my favorite books overall except for a few characters (primarily Gene). As for Rosie, with the exception of the smoking habit and the anger at her father for something that wasn't his fault, she is exactly the outspoken feminist with which I would like to be friends. She sounds like a lot of fun without the crazy risks typically assigned to similar characters. She kind of reminds me of a modern Elizabeth Bennet. Don was obviously very affected by the death of his sister earlier in life, and I would have liked to hear more about her. That being said, I think Simsion stayed true to Don's first-person narrative by not sharing more about his sister. Don wouldn't have shared his feelings on the subject without better inducement. And what a great ending! I love Simsion's distinction that the ability to express love and recognize certain emotions in others is not the same as the ability to feel love. Let's call this an intelligent romance! It had dashes of humor and good fun, as well as some social and medical commentary. Very good.
Recommendation: This book is witty and romantic--a great modern read for anyone who loves Austen!