Title: Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: C+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
SEEING THE WORLD THROUGH ROSIE COLORED GLASSES
Just as opposites attract, they can also cause friction, and no one feels that friction more than Rex and Rosie’s daughter, Willow. Rex is serious and unsentimental and tapes checklists of chores on Willow’s bedroom door. Rosie is sparkling and enchanting and meets Willow in their treehouse in the middle of the night to feast on candy.
After Rex and Rosie’s divorce, Willow finds herself navigating their two different worlds. She is clearly under the spell of her exciting, fun-loving mother. But as Rosie’s behavior becomes more turbulent, the darker underpinnings of her manic love are revealed.
Rex had removed his Rosie colored glasses long ago, but will Willow do the same?
Whimsical, heartbreaking and uplifting, this is a novel about the many ways love can find you. Rosie Colored Glasses triumphs with the most endearing examples of how mothers and fathers and sons and daughters bend for one another.
Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson is a poignant novel about a family’s disintegration that results from wife and mother Rosie Thorpe’s undiagnosed (and self-medicated) bipolar disorder.
Twelve years ago, straight as an arrow and self-disciplined Rex Thorpe meets free-spirited and impulsive Rosie Collins. Despite the VAST differences in their personalities, Rex is swept away by the quixotic, fun-loving young woman and they embark on an unexpected romance. They move in together in the quirky apartment that Rex selects not because it fits his personality, but because it so perfectly embodies Rosie. Following their marriage and birth of oldest daughter Willow, Rex moves the family from the eclectic apartment to a house that is in Rosie’s opinion, bland and sterile. Despite her disappointment in their new abode, Rosie is a happy wife and mom but with the birth of youngest son, Asher, she sinks into a deep depression. This is beginning of an endless cycle of the highest of highs to the lowest of lows but it is Rosie’s attempts to self-medicate that lead Rex to end their marriage.
Now the dust has settled, it is poor Willow who is feeling the worst effects of her parents’ divorce. She and Asher are shuttled back and forth between their mother and father’s homes. Even worse, she desperately misses her warm and loving mother’s attention since her father is much more regimented and parents his kids with rules and schedules instead of compassion or affection. Willow is struggling to make sense of her new life amid teasing and bullying by her classmates. She is also dismayed by the slow downward spiral of her fun-loving mom as Rosie falls once again in depression and turns to very unhealthy means to try to cope.
The chapters alternate between Rex, Rosie and Willow’s points of view and weave back and forth in time. Willow’s chapters are the most poignant while Rex and Rosie’s detail the course of their relationship from dating through their divorce. Willow is an incredibly sympathetic child whose parents do not seem to recognize that she is more than unhappy over their divorce; she is in desperate need of counseling to help her navigate her new “normal”. It is also quite troubling that no one at school attempts to try to intervene or address Willow’s schoolmates’ shabby treatment of the poor young girl. Equally shocking is the fact that Rex does not seem to be aware that the very things that make Rosie so unique are symptoms of undiagnosed mental problem that is crying out to be addressed. And how on earth could Rex allow his kids to spend time with Rosie without any supervision since he DIVORCED her because of her behavior in the first place???
Rosie Colored Glasses is an interesting novel but it is not a light or happy read. Willow is a very relatable character and it is quite easy to understand why Rosie is the parent she gravitates toward since she is not close to Rex. Brianna Wolfson’s debut is based on her own personal experience which makes it all the more poignant to read. The novel ends on an uplifting note but the rest of the story is far from happy.