I went to my local book store and asked for something fun to read (nothing uplifting or inspirational) and they came up with Addition by Toni Jordan. I read it in two days. It’s hilarious – a light read that never the less has made me think more about obsessive compulsive disorder (particularly the compulsive part of it).
Here is the stuff on the back …
Grace Lisa Vandenburg counts. The letters in her name (19). The steps she takes every morning to the local cafe (920). The number of poppy seeds on her orange cake, which dictates the number of bites she’ll take to eat it. Grace counts everything, because that way there are no unpleasant surprises. Seamus Joseph O’Reilly (also a 19) thinks she might be better off without the counting. If she could hold down a job, say. Or open her cupboards without conducting an inventory, or leave her flat without measuring the walls. Grace’s problem is that Seamus doesn’t count. Her other problem is …he does. As Grace struggles to balance a new relationship with old habits, to find a way to change while staying true to herself, she realises that nothing is more chaotic than love.
Grace steals Seamus’s banana because she finds herself with only 9 at the checkout instead of 10 (how did that happen?), so they meet for the first time. They then run into each other again at a Cafe (where Grace uses the number of poppy seeds to determine the number of bites required to finish her piece). He asks her out to dinner and Grace intends to go, but she discovers at the last minute that she doesn’t know how many bristles there are on her toothbrush. By the time she finishes counting she is too late for dinner. She pops out to the local supermarket to pick up all of the toothbrushes like hers (so she doesn’t have to count the bristles again) and runs into Seamus (buying dinner). They go back to her house and thus a relationship is born.
Grace attends therapy to become more ‘normal’. She takes drugs, has group therapy and behavioural therapy. The drugs make her brain split in two (the conversations between her two brains are hilarious) and gain weight. The group therapy is dominated by germphobics (apparently there aren’t many counters) – did you know you can flush the toilet with your foot? The real Grace disappears. She can barely stay awake and can no longer think clearly – the deal breaker is when her mother ends up in hospital (after setting fire to the microwave) and her sister thinks she should move into care and Grace can’t articulate why this is wrong. She dumps Seamus and stops taking the drugs and attending therapy. I’ll leave the recap there so I don’t ruin the story.
This book has made me realise the huge range of ‘normal’ in society and also that it is not a problem unless you think it is a problem. Grace’s counting is an essential part of her personality without she is not Grace.
This book is a fun read and I recommend it.
Here are some other reviews …