Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Addition by Toni Jordan

Toni Jordan
Text, 2008

Reading Challenges
100+ Challenge
TBR Challenge
AWW Challenge

About The Book
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 slice of orange cake, which dictates the number of bites she'll take to finish it. Grace counts everything, because numbers hold the world together. And she needs to keep an eye on how they're doing.

Seamus Joseph O'Reilly (also a 19, with the sexiest hands Grace has ever seen) thinks she might be better off without the counting. If she could hold down a job, say. Or open her kitchen cupboards without conducting an inventory, or make a sandwich containing an unknown number of sprouts.

Grace's problem is that Seamus doesn't count. Her other problem is... he does.

My Thoughts
Some times reading is just easy and it almost feels like you are swimming through the words. Other times it's difficult and feels like you are walking on dry sand. At the moment, for me it is easy. I just swam through Addition. It was funny and heartwarming and sweet and serious and I feel like I'm leaving friends behind now that I've finished it. I will have to read it again!

Grace Lisa Vandenburg is funny and sweet but blunt and counts everything. Seamus Joseph O'Reilly is sweet and strong and likes Grace. I giggled to myself quite often throughout the novel. I love the quirky humour in this book, which starts quite near the beginning with a scene in the supermarket when Grace realises she has only 9 bananas in her basket but that Seamus, who is in the line behind her, has a single banana. She decides to take his banana so that she has her full quota of 10.

I saw Toni Jordan at the Sydney Writer's Festival in 2008, just after Addition was released. She was on a panel with Chris Womersely and maybe someone else..., talking about first books and the road to publication. It was a good talk... but then I always find hearing an author talk about their work makes me so much more intersted in reading it. That being said... it's taken 5 years to take my copy off the shelf and start reading it.

A lot of reviews I've read say that Addition is about counting. I'm not really sure I agree with that. Sure counting plays an important part in the book but it is more Grace's comfort system as she can only cope in a world where she knows the numbers involved. I think it's more about being who we are and doing what we need to do to cope with life. 

The most poignant moment of the novel comes near the end when Grace says:
Most people miss their whole lives, you know. Listen, life isn't when you are standing on the top of a mountain looking at the sunset. Life isn't waiting at the altar or the moment your child is born or that time you were swimming in deep water and a dolphin came up beside you. These are fragments. Ten or twelve grains of sand spread throughout your entire existence. These are not life. Life is brushing your teeth or making a sandwich or watching the news or waiting for the bus. Or walking. Every day, thousands of tiny events happen and if you're not watching, if you're not careful, if you don't capture them and make them count, you could miss it. 
You could miss your whole life. (p217)


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