ADDITION by Toni Jordan
Kirkus Star


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A witty heroine with a crippling case of obsessive-compulsive disorder is at the center of this gemlike debut—think The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time thrown into the world of chick-lit.

Grace Vandenburg, 35, lives in a highly organized flat in Melbourne, Australia. Her morning routine goes something like this: While showering, each limb is scrubbed ten times; hair is dried with 100 strokes under the blow dryer; and teeth require 160 strokes with the toothbrush. Grace owns ten pairs of pants and ten skirts. She no longer drives because she can’t take her eyes off the speedometer, and there is a complicated algorithm dictating the number of bites she takes at each meal. Her life is ruled by the reassuring order of numbers, but her compulsions prevent her from forming attachments to others. That is until she meets Seamus at the grocery store (when at the checkout she discovers she has an impossible nine bananas, she steals one from his cart). A sexy, gentle man, attracted to Grace’s considerable charm, Seamus is perplexed by her mysterious behavior (and the framed photograph of Tesla on her nightstand), but the sexual chemistry is enough to keep the questions at bay. When Grace comes clean, Seamus convinces her that she deserves a happy life. Soon she is traveling down the usual road to recovery: meds and therapy. Grace stops counting, but she also stops enjoying life, gains weight and could care less about sex. Whereas at one point every moment of her day was busy, now weeks go by offering little but a change in the TV schedule. This romantic comedy weighs the value of a normal life against the hidden potential in a life of dysfunction. At the book’s close, it’s up to Seamus to accept Grace for who she is.

A smartly written comedy that cheekily suggests recovery may not be for everyone.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-158257-8
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2008


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