You’re not supposed to judge books by their covers, and since reading primarily on a Kindle for the last 3 years, I hardly ever see the covers, so problem solved! You’re probably not supposed to judge books by their titles either. I’ve come to learn that the author generally doesn’t get input on the title of the book, the cover art and so on. But sometimes it’s a catchy title and it makes me think it might be an interesting story (I recognize that’s really the point). That’s how I chose this book, and well… You win some, you lose some.
Book #24- The Theory of Opposites, Allison Winn Scotch
Synopsis: Willa Chandler was actually born William. She did not have a sex-change or an identity crisis, she had a father who firmly believes in the ebb-and-flow of the universe. So when the doctor said it would be a boy, they chose the name William, and that was that, no turning back despite the absence of a penis upon birth. Willa dad is actually quite famous for his theories, having written a widely published self-help book about the absence of choices in life. Willa subscribes to these theories because she has had them ingrained since, and since the whole idea is to allow the world to happen as it will, she doesn’t protest.
That’s how she ends up with a husband who is asking for the summer off from their marriage (she didn’t think anything was wrong?), fired from her job (who can make adult diapers sexy? Who?), and thrown into a project with her best friend that forces her out of her comfort zone. Vanessa is challenging her to resist inertia, react in the exact opposite manner than she is inclined, all for the sake of stepping out of her fathers shadow and testing “the theory of opposites.” What happens to you when turn left if you have always turned right? Can you go back and correct a wrong turn?
My Impressions: This isn’t a very complicated story. Things go wrong early on and Willa, a general peace-keeper, not one to make waves, just sort of lets them go on. Her husband wants to leave, so she watches him go. She gets fired, so she needs a new job. Her dad gets sick and she faithfully stays by his side. Her mom has a bit of a life change and she casually accepts that too. Her friend Vanessa thinks she knows what Willa needs and Willa goes along (only protesting slightly). Blah, blah, blah…DOORMAT! I really had a hard time reading a story about someone who was so accepting of their own unhappiness and thought there was nothing they could do since that’s the hand they were dealt. I just couldn’t enjoy this story for all the apathy of the main character and the lack of responsibility for her own part in her circumstances. I kept reading because I was waiting for this great revelation about her trending behavior because everyone around her was happy to hint at it, or just say it out-right. But it never happened, until the very end. The very far-fetched end…
Why you should read it: Well, it’s a short book… It may make for an interesting discussion in a book group because of the basic philosophies presented. But it doesn’t really get a high recommendation from me.
Read if you liked: Delusional Thinking (Bonnie Trachtenberg), 20 Times a Lady (Karyn Bosnak)
Book #24 in the bag
“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” ― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones