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Brie's Corner

Supervillain book reviewer. Lover of secret pains and purple proses. I review over at Romance Around the Corner.

Addition - Toni Jordan 2.5 StarsWarning: There will be spoilers.Kaetrin reviewed this book a few weeks ago and it sounded interesting and unique, so I bought it. I’m glad I read it. For the most part I found it entertaining, and it has stayed with me after I finished it. But I also keep having more and more issues with it, so this review will be mixed at best.Grace’s life depends on number. It’s obvious to the reader that she suffers from some type of obsessive-compulsive disorder, even if she doesn’t admit it. Yet she’s quite frank about how numbers dominate her day and how she has rearranged her life to fit all the numbers in it. Counting, mathematics, weird trivia and numbers rule her life, but she’s comfortable and somewhat happy with it, because they also ground her. There are certain longings and thoughts that sneak in and wreak mini havocs at times, but she’s very good at keeping them at bay, so it’s hard to tell whether she’s miserable, content or happy.What we can tell is that Grace is her own person, and that numbers don’t define who she is. In fact, I didn’t even find her a sympathetic character. She’s not particularly nice to her mother or to her sister, and of her remaining family members she only likes one of her nieces, mostly because she projects herself onto her.But when she meets Seamus and they quickly develop a relationship, she begins to pay attention to all those longings and thoughts, and suddenly considers changing her life so that Seamus can fit in it. The results are not that good. The overall tone of the book is light and quirky. I wouldn’t call it a comedy, because it has plenty of darker undertones, but if I had to put a label to it, I would say that it fits well under Chick-Lit. It’s narrated entirely from Grace’s POV, and she has a very convoluted mind, so more than half the book is a random litany of number-related trivia, and another chunk of it is about Nikola Tesla, Grace’s hero. So there are a lot of things to learn in this book, but when it comes to the important lessons, I’m not sure that it gets it right.The romance plays a prominent role in the book, and Seamus was a good hero, but Grace is self-absorbed and not that observant, so Seamus’ intentions and feelings only manifest themselves when he stays by her side during some rough situations. But as sweet as the romance was, I didn’t understand why they were together. What did he see in her? What did she see in him? Were they really in love, or was it need and loneliness? I’m not sure I have the answers to all these questions. But the ending is happy, at least in terms of the romance.As I said before, the more I think about the book, the more issues I find. This next part will be spoilery, so look away if you don’t want to know. Grace, urged by Seamus, goes to therapy and starts taking medication. Therapy isn’t particularly successful, and the medications make her foggy and change her personality. She stops counting, but she doesn’t become more functional and her relationships rapidly deteriorate. But then she goes off the meds, gets her obsession back, her family accept her for who she is, and Seamus even apologizes for the part he played in all of it. It was uncomfortable to read, because I’m not an expert, and I know that some medications have serious effects on people, but it felt like the second half of the book was an anti-medication propaganda, and I’m not sure I agree with it.Mental illness has a stigma, and it’s either portrayed in a negative way or played for laughs. Grace’s disorder made her unique and special, but the moment she takes medication she becomes insignificant and average. It was too extreme, and now that we’re fighting to have a serious conversation about mental illness, this book bothered ne. Perhaps it was the wrong time to read it, but I don’t agree with the way it ended, and it left me with a bitter aftertaste that has done nothing but increase ever since I finished the book.That being said, I liked the risk the author took with such a different heroine, and I very much enjoyed her voice. I can’t recommend Addition, but I’m more than willing to give the author another chance, because her talent is undeniable.