Rosie Colored Glasses

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 20 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

Rosie Colored Glasses is an emotional and heart breaking read. To be honest, I was not expecting to be so moved and touched by this novel.
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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Rex and Rosie were opposites in every way, yet fell in love.  After their second child was born, however, Rex realized their relationship wouldn't work anymore and divorced Rosie.  For their daughter, Willow, her mom's house has always been a place of love, fun, and feeling safe.  Her dad's house has always been a place of rules and a lack of affection, so she lives for the days she is with her mom.  Things are changing, though; will Willow be able to find the love she needs from her dad?

This book was a lot heavier than I had expected based on the cover, title, and blurb.  The author did a good job of making you feel what the characters, especially Willow, feel.  My only complaint about the book is that the epilogue didn't feel necessary.  I feel like the rushed bit before the epilogue would have been a better choice to flesh out as a full epilogue chapter.

Among the heavy topics mentioned in this book:  bullying, bipolar disorder, opioid addiction, suicide
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Seeing a mother's struggle with mental illness and addiction through the eyes of her daughter is both heartwarming and breaking, and so very very honest.
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This novel was slow to pull me in but it felt very real.  Willow's s mother is a free spirit which seems wonderful but it is attached to her mental illness. Willow's father is not as expressive as her mother but he is reliable and there.  It was heart breaking to read Willow's thoughts and emotions but in the end, very satisfying.
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Trigger warning for suicide and drug abuse.

I wanted to love this book so much. But it just didn't work for me.

The story is told from 2 different perspectives. We hear from Willow, the daughter of Rosie and Rex, as she struggles with having to go between her parents now that they are divorced. We also hear from Rosie and Rex when they first met and how they fell in love with each other. I really liked that we had these two perspectives because they made for a very interesting and well-rounded story. 

I think that the issues this novel explores are very interesting and deep, and deserve to be mentioned. It is definitely a sad and moving story. 

But the novel left me wanting more. 

I wanted to understand Rosie more and I wish the author had used this novel to give more of a platform for mental health issues. I wish that there had been more opportunities for the reader to connect with Rosie and Rex because they felt very awkward and stilted; the only time they came alive was when Willow was describing them and I felt like there was a missed opportunity here for readers to understand Rosie and Rex. 

The ending was sad but it felt unresolved for me. I finished this book wanting more from it and feeling like it missed the mark. For those reasons, I'm giving it a 2/5 stars.
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Willow is only 11 when her parents are divorced. The vastly differing parenting styles are explained as Rosie's manic side is revealed. It's a heavy subject and I wished I had liked it better.
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Rosie is an Asshole. Rosie has some serious issues. Rosie is the reason I kept reading this book.

This turned out to be a very sad tale and I felt so bad for Rosie. My afternoon with her was perplexing, wonderful, sad and very entertaining.

I can't say anymore without giving anything away. I can't do that. You need to read it. I will say that I did shed tears while reading this. A lot of tears.

Thanks to Harlequin (US & Canada) and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
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Eleven-year-old Willow hates that her parents are divorced. She hates that she and her brother have two separate lives:  one filled with rules and sternness when they’re with their father, Rex; and one filled with laughter and crazy rituals when they’re with their mother, Rosie. 

Willow knows how much her mother loves her. Every Spaghetti Sunday, late-night room-painting endeavor, or costumed reenactment of Rocky Horror Picture Show proves it. Her father just yells or gives her more lists to follow. Why can’t she live with her mother all the time?

Then her mother’s behavior changes, and Willow finds herself waking up at her father’s house when she’d fallen asleep at her mother’s. Her mother no longer wants to paint or sing or dance. Her father grows sterner. Willow has no idea what’s wrong, she just wants her old life back. 

I wanted to love this book. It takes a heavy topic and explores it from the viewpoint of child who doesn’t know what’s going on. Rosie is a vibrant character, full of music and color and life, while Rex is rigid and rule-bound. The characters are very black-and-white, and the moments when they act out-of-character aren’t explained, just glossed-over. Perhaps the child’s viewpoint made this hard to relate to, but I kept stumbling over the wording and how everyone left Willow so clueless as to what was really going on.

 (Galley provided by MIRA in exchange for an honest review.)
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Unfortunately I had issues with opening this on adobe.
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By the end of the first chapter, I knew that this book would not be quite as advertised. I somehow missed the whimsical part of this story, but it is definitely a heartbreaking and uplifting story. 

It's beautifully crafted and touches on love, relationships, the effect of drugs on a family and a variety of other issues. I would definitely recommend this book.
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I absolutely loved everything about Rosie Colored Glasses.  I loved the characters, i loved the story, and I loved the almost fairytale like writing.  It is at times both heart breaking and heart lifting.  

The main characters are Rosie - so exuberant and full of life, except when she isn’t.  Rex - her husband, almost the exact opposite of Rosie. Their two children, Willow and Asher.   Willow plays heavily in the story, Asher less so because he is so young. 

The story of this family is told in two time frames.  We learn from Rosie and Rex, how they met and fell in love.  Then in the current time frame we follow Rosie, Rex and Willow.  

When Rex and Rosie meet, Rex is almost overwhelmed by Rosie.  She is so full of life, she feels everything, wants to experience everything.  Rex is more rigid and structured, but he appreciates what he feels like when he is with Rosie.  When Rosie becomes pregnant, they marry and try to make things work. 

In the current day, they are divorced, the children’s time spent evenly between their homes.  At Rosie’s house, there are no rules, only fun.  Dance parties, impromptu trips to climb trees, and lots and lots of love and hugs and kisses.  At Rex’s house, there are rules, checklists and a dad that doesn’t give hugs.  Willow is especially effected by the differences in her parents.  She is also a loner and outcast as school, preferring to listen to music and word searches, waiting until she can be with her mom again.  

It’s not surprising that the children want to spend most of their time at their mom’s.  But they don’t really understand what is happening with their mom. 

As the two stories, the past and the current come closer and closer, we get a better feel for what is happening to Rosie.  The novel doesn’t come right out and say she is bipolar, though she has her exuberant manic phases and her depressed phases.  Her depression started right after the birth of her second child, which sounds like postpartum depression.  

Heartbreaking and heart lifting.
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Here is a review by Jennifer: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2323742338
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This novel tears you up inside - every word about Willow just broke my heart. Her mother, Rosie, is the force of nature in the story, and Wolfson unfolds the details of Rosie's mental illness - her exhilarating mania and her gut-hollowing depression - and addiction in a steady, methodical way via snippets of past and present, like a slow-motion trainwreck. Rex, Willow's father, affects her in a different way due to his inability to let go of control and his selfish unwillingness to try just a little harder for his daughter. He comes around eventually, but it's so frustrating that it takes such a profound tragedy to do so. This whole story is a big reminder that you never know what's really going on beneath the public mask that people choose to present.
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A fabulous read dealing with the most strenuous issues including post partum depression , drug addiction, and sadly parental alienation.
When you watch someone self destruct from an addiction it's not something anyone takes lightly as countless lives are affected by one's choices and those choices have dire consequences .
Rosie and Rex seemed to live a life of envy until you learn that their two kids are being neglected do to the mother's hidden drug use and abuse of vicodin.
Rosie has lapsed into being an unfit parent and Rex is forced to make a terrible choice his wife or his two kids.
Either way I cannot imagine the heartache in knowing your wife is stoned and attempting to go on as life is normal.
The only option is to continue to be receptive and open to the needs of the children as they must come first and be the top priority of any parent and Rex is no exception to that rule.
He's always been attentive to their needs and Rosie has never wavered in giving him this stamp of approval yet she must get help soon before her world collapses around her.
Life is too precious to be wasted away but tell that too someone who never felt she mattered, never felt loved, never felt appreciated and you get a recipe for disaster that may lead to death.
Willow Thorpe her 5th grade daughter looks just like Rosie yet thankfully is not stuck living behind a lie.
Asher is very young in fact too young to understand why his parents sought divorce but sadly now his dad (Rex) must explain how life can be snubbed away by drug addiction.
When life becomes difficult most turn to family in this case Rosie turned to drugs and she simply never seen the light at the end of the tunnel.
Thank you to not only Hoyt Library for backing me up with a hard cover but also Brianna Wolfson, NetGalley and Aldiko for providing me an ecopy
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This was a well written exploration into a love story that likely never should have worked, and when it becomes apparent that it isn't going to,, the aftereffects it has on the two young children. Willow and her brother Asher go back and forth between their two parents houses. Both parents have completely opposite styles, which only ends up confusing the children more. Their mom becomes the fun parent, the one that older child Willow wants to be with always, and their father the one with all the rules While this can perhaps work in a two parent family, it goes awry when sides become drawn. The book is told in alternating chapters, one from daughter Willow's viewpoint, and the other the story of the parents courtship up until present time. I had a hard time with pretty much all of the characters in this one, even though I credit the author with writing them well (I have read that this novel is semi-autobiographical). The mother, who was clearly struggling with mental illness and self medicating with drugs, needed to reign her wild behavior in and seek help, especially once there were children involved. The father needed to show more love and understand his children and where they were coming from. He appeared to do a better job  at being present for his ex-wife than his children. The daughter not understanding that her mother was not always the best option, had me on edge the whole book. She seemed a bit old in her thoughts and actions for a fifth grader, but I'm going to let that slide since as I mentioned, it was the author's life. Luckily there was a redemption for one of the parents in the end, which tied the story up.

A good story, with a heartbreaking look at what mental illness can do to a family, particularly the children.
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I tried several times, but could not get into this book and finally abandoned it about half way through. I just did not like any the characters.
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This one just wasn't for me. Even though the text was written in a barebones style I still felt myself struggling to get through it. The characters were generally intriguing but the plot was just a sort of predictable and basic portrayal of postpartum depression and drug addiction and mental illness that I don't think added anything to the vast array of books on these topics. I skim read the last 100 pages or so, because I had already commited enough time to it to want to finish it and mark it as read, but I wouldn't have lost any enjoyment in it whatsoever if I DNF'ed.
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Books was amazing. A tear jerker all the way through. A father-daughter  and Mother-Daughter relationship of miss communications an assumptions that many can relate to.
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{My Thoughts}
What Worked For Me
Love that Couldn’t Last – I really liked the relationship between Rosie and Rex. It would be difficult to find two people more different from one another. Rosie was romantic, dazzling, ditsy, quick to smile, but she also had trouble keeping a job and maintaining focus. Rex was steady, efficient, strong, but he was impatient and struggled with affection. Both Rosie and Rex knew they were too different for their love to last. Yet, they couldn’t stop themselves from moving forward with the love they shared. Wolfson did a really nice job juxtaposing their personalities and their feelings about the other.

“By Rosie’s definition of love, she loved Rex very much. And while she desperately hoped she could stay still enough to find a great, enduring love with this man, she knew in her bones that it could never be.”

“And while he desperately hoped he could remain engaged enough to find an all-encompassing, enduring love with this woman, he knew in his heart that it could never be. He knew in his heart that, one day, he would want to be still again. That this love was mortal.”

A Magical Mother – As a mother myself, Rosie drove me crazy, but for Willow and her little brother Asher, their mother was magical. The days they spent with her were easy and fun – pizza, dance parties, movies late into the night, painting on the walls. Nothing was off limits with Rosie. She engulfed them in her love, and they flourished in it. Willow especially craved the warmth radiating from Rosie, so when it began to fail, Willow was lost.

A Rigid Father – In the good years of his marriage to Rosie, Rex found himself a freer spirit, taking on some of Rosie’s lightheartedness, but when his marriage ended, so did that. He struggled finding a balance between responsibility and affection, and no one suffered more than Willow. Initially it was easy to dislike Rex, who rarely tucked his kids in or kissed them goodnight, but you had to forgive Rex because he really did want the best for his kids. Being the responsible parent in the shadow of Rosie’s glow proved to be a challenge that Rex was ill prepared for. Undaunted, he kept at it, never letting Willow’s anger deter him.

What Didn’t
A 10-Year Old’s Perspective – Rosie Colored Glasses, while fiction, is based on Brianna Wolfson’s own life. I’m sure her intent was to tell the story as she remembered it from the years of her childhood, but that also left a lot of questions. For example, Willow was terribly picked on at school, but no adults seemed aware of that. Why didn’t her parents try to help? Where was the school counselor/psychologist? A child might not know the answers to questions such as this, but the adult writer would. I found that there were quite a few places where I had to suspend disbelief in this book.

{The Final Assessment}
Overall, I liked Rosie Colored Glasses quite a lot. It was a fast read with writing that was almost effervescent, even when tackling tough subjects. While the characters were sometimes a bit clichéd, in this book that worked very well. I especially liked Rex and his evolution as a father. The fact that the story came from Wolfson’s own experiences made it even more interesting to me. I’d love to know where the line between fact and fiction actually fell. Wherever that line may be, her book is definitely a tribute to two parents whom she deeply loves. Grade: B

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher (via NetGalley) in exchange for my honest review.
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A very moving and timely story of a family dealing with the fallout from mental health and addiction issues. The titular Rosie is an ebullient, force of nature with, as we see from the first pages, serious boundary issues. While her life with few rules and much love sees her as a relatively functional single adult, her marriage and parenting are harmed by her choices and behavior. Rex, an uptight, straight-laced and success-driven man falls in love with Rosie only to have her nature, so opposite and foreign to his own, cause chaos in his life. But it's not cute, romantic chaos. Imagine that you finally learn to love and your love unhinges everything, including the lives of your children? As the book opens, Rosie's daughter Willow, who loves her mother with the burning intensity of the sun, is barely on the cusp of understanding the drawbacks of her mother's lifestyle. Her mother represents everything good and freely given, whereas Willow is pained by the difficult relationship she has with a father who struggles to show his love for her. His awkward, laconic demeanor contrasts so strongly with that of his ex-wife's dynamic and effervescent nature. Rex is all structure, rules, and schedules and Rosie has no rules, no structure, and few boundaries. Willow becomes, over the course of the book, increasingly parentified, trying to care for her six-year-old brother Asher whenever they are in their mother's care and the reader senses the oncoming trainwreck that will impact the two children and their father, who so obviously still loves, but cannot live with, Rosie.

Easy to read and hard to put down, this is a heartbreaking book that nevertheless ends on a positive note.
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