Review: Addition, by Toni Jordan

by Toni Jordan
Polebridge Press (Harper San Francisco), 272 pages
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You’re not supposed to judge books by their covers, I know, but it was the cover of Toni Jordan’s novel Addition that hooked me, with its pretty rows of brightly colored objects. Then I read the back, and thought, “Hmm. This is interesting.”

Protagonist Grace Lisa Vandenburg has been “counting things” since she was a young girl, and by “counting things” I don’t mean “inventorying pool filters,” but that she’s high-functioning OCD. High functioning in that as long as she sticks to a routine, she can leave her apartment and do things. . . to a point. Her routine is pretty specific though – she goes so far as to remove two eggs from every carton because she has to have TEN not TWELVE, and she steals a banana from a guy at the grocery store because she miscounted and is already in line.

When the same guy is at her table at the cafe where she goes every day for a slice of orange cake and a hot chocolate, Grace has to break out of the comfort of counting. The two fall into a quirky relationship, and the Boy even gets her to try therapy again. But her niece, and closest confidant isn’t thrilled with well-adjusted Grace, preferring a blend of the original version and the one that has been through therapy.

Toni Jordan’s characters are delightfully quirky, and her glimpse into the mind of someone with OCD is both interesting and enlightening. The novel is paced a little slow, at first, but then it gets better, and the end is satisfying, but let’s be clear: this is summer reading at it’s best.

Goes well with: A slice of orange cake and hot chocolate, obviously.