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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Book Review - Addition by Toni Jordan



Title: Addition 
Author: Toni Jordan
Year: 2008
Page: 256
Genre: Fiction

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from goodreads.com):
Grace Lisa Vandenburg orders her world with numbers: how many bananas she buys, how many steps she takes to the café, where she chooses to sit, how many poppy seeds are in her daily piece of orange cake. Every morning she uses 100 strokes to brush her hair, 160 strokes to brush her teeth. She remembers the day she started to count, how she used numbers to organize her adolescence, her career, even the men she dated. But something went wrong. Grace used to be a teacher, but now she's surviving on disability checks. According to the parents of one of her former students, "she's mad."

Most people don't understand that numbers rule, not just the world in a macro way but their world, their own world. Their lives. They don't really understand that everything and everybody are connected by a mathematical formula. Counting is what defines us . . . the only thing that gives our lives meaning is the knowledge that eventually we all will die. That's what makes each minute important. Without the ability to count our days, our hours, our loved ones . . . there's no meaning. Our lives would have no meaning. Without counting, our lives are unexamined. Not valued. Not precious. This consciousness, this ability to rejoice when we gain something and grieve when we lose something—this is what separates us from other animals. Counting, adding, measuring, timing. It's what makes us human.

Grace's father is dead and her mother is a mystery to her. Her sister wants to sympathize but she really doesn't understand. Only Hilary, her favorite niece, connects with her. And Grace can only connect with Nikola Tesla, the turn-of-the-twentieth-century inventor whose portrait sits on her bedside table and who rescues her in her dreams. Then one day all the tables at her regular café are full, and as she hesitates in the doorway a stranger—Seamus Joseph O'Reilly (19 letters in his name, just like Grace's)—invites her to sit with him. Grace is not the least bit sentimental. But she understands that no matter how organized you are, how many systems you put in place, you can't plan for people. They are unpredictable and full of possibilities—like life itself, a series of maybes and what-ifs.

And suddenly, Grace may be about to lose count of the number of ways she can fall in love.


First Sentence:
It all counts.

My Thoughts:

  • I don't usually read chick lit. They are typically too predictable for me and I usually cannot identify with the protagonists. However, when I read Caroline Bookbinder's review of this book (see here), I was intrigued since she doesn't really read chick lit anymore and found that she likes this one.
  • The book started out interesting as you learned more about Grace, the protagonist who had OCD and was quirky about numbers. That made her a bit different from your typical girl next door. She was likeable. But just like other chick lit, the storyline got predictable, and the love interest, Seamus, just seemed too perfect.
  • I looked back at my notes, and I noted that there was a twist but the twist didn't really give a full explanation on some of the background.... now 5 months later, I have no recollection of what the twist was. Oops. Need to take better notes. Or write a review sooner!
  • I also wrote in my notes that it didn't shed good lights on mental health professional. I seriously don't remember why I wrote that... maybe because I work with mental health professionals who are great people so I am a bit more sensitive on this topic when they are represented in a negative way. 
  • The book title is quite fitting, though I kept thinking it was called Addiction instead of Addition.  Addition definitely makes more sense given that numbers played a big role in the story. The cover design is okay... nothing that makes me love it or hate it.
  • Overall it is a quick read. A beach-read type of book. It reminds me a bit of the Kitchen Daughter (see my review here) where both stories are a little quirky. Though I have to say I like Kitchen Daughter better as it has a surprising twist that I still remember. I don't regret reading this though, since the author is Australian and I used to live there, so some of the slang used in the book just bring back a warm and fuzzy feeling. 



Quote:
Counting is what defines us... the only thing that gives our lives meaning is the knowledge that eventually we will all die. All of us. That's what makes each minute important. Without the ability to count our days, our hours, our loved ones... there's no meaning. Our lives would have no meaning. Without counting, our lives are unexamined. Not valued. Not precious. This consciousness, this ability to rejoice when we gain something and grieve when we lose something - this is what separates us from  other animals. Counting, adding, measuring, timing. It's what makes us human. (p130)

Average doesn't mean normal (p243)

Overall Rating:


3 Stars. Fun read. Not the best, not the worst. Fun to read when you want something a bit fluffy.


All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

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