Love proves graceful, profound in ‘Rosie Colored Glasses’
By CHRISTINA LEDBETTER
“Rosie Colored Glasses: a Novel” (Mira), by Brianna Wolfson
Rex has no desire to twirl with Rosie through an antique shop, and Rosie isn’t the type to stay in bed on Sunday mornings. For now, however, they will set aside pieces of themselves and sink into this exhilarating (if mortal) love they’ve found.
Told in alternating chapters taking place 12 years apart, Brianna Wolfson’s “Rosie Colored Glasses” follows Rex and Rosie as they begin their relationship and their daughter, Willow, who is feeling her way through her new life as a child of divorced parents. While some books donning this approach require a dose of mental gymnastics on behalf of readers in order to remain engaging, Wolfson’s storytelling expertise creates a smooth read free of cheap clutter.
Willow is entirely endearing with her frizzy hair and word search puzzles, and it’s through her lens that we’re charmed by Rosie and her whimsically passionate approach to life. She is peeved with Rex and his rigidity. Rosie feeds Willow and her brother pizza and dances with them to songs by Prince. Rex creates chore checklists. While Rosie and Rex fill opposing spaces in the book, their characters remain textured and rich. Wolfson forces no one (except Willow’s bullies) squarely into the role of hero or villain, and instead allows her cast to fail, hurt, scream and grow.
The Manhattan backdrop for the couple’s courtship serves as an apt juxtaposition to suburban Virginia, where the two meet their demise. Here, Rosie’s moving plight threatens to shatter her family and forces them to find strength in unfamiliar places. Throughout each scene, heartache and hope battle for the spotlight.
Wolfson’s writing is superb. Without so much as dipping a toe into cliche territory, her heady descriptions of love will curl into readers’ souls. With a simplistic elegance to her prose, the author delivers a treasure of a read.