Rosie Collins is dead-set romantic. At age twenty-four, she believes in happy-ever-after endings, and upon taking a job in a Manhattan florist is shocked to discover how banal New York men are when it comes to professing their love.
Accordingly, she begins tampering with notes, leaving cute, romantic messages – playing cupid by reciting the very words she craves to hear from someone else. That is, until she tampers with the wrong card.
Rex Thorpe is a pretty serious guy, so when Rosie takes the liberty of including an E. E. Cummings poem and the words ‘I love you’ on his card to his girlfriend, Anabel, he’s not impressed and storms off to the florist in a rage, determined to confront the meddling Rosie.
In the best of love stories polar opposites always attract, and this one is no exception – before long, Rex and Rosie fall madly in love, marry and have a daughter and a son, Willow and Asher. Rosie still thinks Rex is a supreme jerk. That’s the power of love, she tells herself. She loves him in spite of his ‘jerkiness.’ But eventually, large cracks begin to appear in their relationship and it crumbles.
With chapters alternating between the present where the children are moved back and forth between their parents’ houses and their very different worlds and the past, to when Rosie and Rex first met and fell madly in love, Rosie Coloured Glasses tracks a marriage and a family in freefall.
Rex is regimented, seemingly unloving – strict; while Rosie is fun, free-spirited, boundlessly affectionate. She’s the one who lets them stay up late and watch movies on school nights and paint the walls with their hands – no points for guessing who the children prefer. Still, they are torn between loving their father resenting him.
A dire situation becomes even more dire when Rosie’s behavior shifts from goofiness and fun to become increasingly erratic, her addiction to prescription drugs eventually endangering the children.
It’s a shambolic situation, one sure to fuel lots of discussion in book clubs. The temptation is to judge the adults harshly (Rosie for her addiction, Rex for his lack of affection and rigidity). Knowing however, that Rosie was inspired by the author’s own free-spirited mother who was addicted to opiates, the story becomes more of a vivid, tragic snapshot of a widespread problem that can be found in the best of homes. It’s not about perfect lives and perfect people but about flaws and weaknesses, mistakes – and the impact of addiction and divorce on children.
Rosie Coloured Glasses is a complicated love story for the 21st century. A raw, honest, moving tale that has its funny moments and eventually, finds its way through the mess to deliver a hopeful message about love’s transformative power.
About the author
Brianna Wolfson is an author who grew up in New York, but now lives in San Francisco. Her moving debut novel, Rosie Coloured Glasses was inspired by personal experience and deals with many of the issues that arose from her parent’s divorce.