Friday, February 28, 2014

The Theory of Opposites - Allison Winn Scotch

The Theory of Opposites Allison Winn Scotch
The Theory of Opposites by Allison Winn Scotch
Publication Date: November 12, 2013
Source/Format: Edelweiss || e-galley
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

Willa Chandler-Golden's father changed the world with his self-help bestseller, Is It Really Your Choice? Why Your Entire Life May Be Out of Your Control. Millions of devoted fans now find solace in his notion that everything happens for a reason. Though Willa isn’t entirely convinced of her father’s theories, she readily admits that the universe has delivered her a solid life: a reliable husband, a fast-paced career. Sure there are hiccups – negative pregnancy tests, embattled siblings - but this is what the universe has brought, and life, if she doesn’t think about it too much, is wonderful.

Then her (evidently not-so-reliable) husband proposes this: A two-month break. Two months to see if they can't live their lives without each other. And before Willa can sort out destiny and fate and what it all means, she’s axed from her job, her 12 year-old nephew Nicky moves in, her ex-boyfriend finds her on Facebook, and her best friend Vanessa lands a gig writing for Dare You!, the hottest new reality TV show. And then Vanessa lures Willa into dares of her own - dares that run counter to her father’s theories of fate, dares that might change everything…but only if Willa is brave enough to stop listening to the universe and instead aim for the stars.(from Goodreads)

Have you ever thought about how you’ve arrived at this present moment in your life, and where to go from here? Allison Winn Scotch’s novel, The Theory of Opposites, has these two questions as running themes, specifically examined in the life of main character William “Willa” Chandler-Golden. Though these questions are serious, The Theory of Opposites is written in way that inspires encouragement, hopefulness and positivity in the face of all odds. 

Willa is the kind of main character I enjoy. She appears to have certain things that make her Willa Chandler-Golden, like having a famous author for a father. But her emotional turmoil and mind beset with seemingly endless questions about her future mirror the way many of us feel. Willa instantly invites the reader in, showing us all of her good and not-so-good qualities to put us at ease. Scotch has written Willa like she’s a friend – relatable, and easy to converse and commiserate with – and it succeeds in getting the reader to connect to The Theory of Opposites

Willa is joined by a whole ensemble – her family (father, mother, sister, brother), her husband, her best friend Vanessa, her ex, her nephew Nicky, to name a few. Each secondary character had a distinct characteristic that, while borderline stereotypical at times, helped keep them memorable as I read. While these characters aren’t fully fleshed out, readers will learn what roles they play in Willa’s life and how that affects her journey in The Theory of Opposites

And really, it’s Willa’s journey that made The Theory of Opposites work so well. She’s lived a life where she just goes where the universe wills her, good or bad. It’s been steady, but it’s also meant that she’s found herself stuck in routine. All that changes when a few things happen in rapid-fired succession: she loses her job, her husband suggests a separation, her nephew moves in and her ex finds her on Facebook. The Theory of Opposites shows readers how Willa learns, with the encouragement of her best friend Vanessa, to make things happen for herself instead of just going with the flow. It’s life-changing, for both Willa and the reader, and the reason why it left such a favorable impression. 

The Theory of Opposites presents a challenge to its readers: Will you allow yourself to be swept up in the current of life and go where it flows? Or will you find a way to go in a direction of your choosing, even if it gets hard? Even though there were “preachy” bits, the novel was really encouraging overall. It was wonderful to read a story that revolved around things that I’ve personally deliberated about, and the fact that it was presented mostly positively was really nice too. 

Sure, everything fell a little too neatly into place by the end. But The Theory of Opposites made me think, and I always love when that happens with a book. It might not be perfect, but it’s definitely likable, relatable and easy to read. 

5 comments:

  1. this is a great review. i've read some AWS years ago & actually picked up another of her books yesterday at the library. i really want to read this book. I love chick-lit, especially the kind that makes you think and consider how it's lessons could impact your own life. ~daphne

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  2. I haven't heard of this book at all but it sounds so good. There's another book coming out in the summer that has a similar plot... but I have a feeling they are written completely different judging for your comments about the neat ending & such.

    I'm adding this to my list!

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  3. I couldn't find this book in my library yet, but I found Allison Winn Scotch's other books, so I'll read them first and hope that this one will be available soon. It sounds like the kind of book I'd like! =)

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  4. Books that make you THINK are always good books. They stay in your head for a while and it's hard to brush off the thought of them. ;) I admit I haven't heard of it before your review but I'm definitely intrigued by it, especially since it looks like such an encouraging, hopeful read. Will definitely be looking into checking it out soon. Awesome review Alexa! :)

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  5. The Theory of Opposites really surprised me. Obviously I thought I would like it or I wouldn't have picked it up, but I went into it expecting it to me more serious and kind of literary, but it was a lot of fun (and well done, IMO). I agree that things wrapped up maybe too neatly at the end, but I really enjoyed the journey of the book and pretty much all of the characters (especially her siblings and parents). And the story does definitely make you think.

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