by Toni Jordan

Everything counts...Grace Lisa Vandenburg orders her world with numbers: how many bananas she buys, how many steps she takes to the café, where she chooses to sit, how many poppy seeds are in her daily piece of orange cake.

She remembers the day she started to count, how she used numbers to organize her adolescence, her career, even the men she dated.

According to the parents of one of her former students, "she's mad."Most people don't understand that numbers rule, not just the world in a macro way but their world, their own world.

They don't really understand that everything and everybody are connected by a mathematical formula.

Counting is what defines us...the only thing that gives our lives meaning is the knowledge that eventually we all will die.

Without the ability to count our days, our hours, our loved ones...there's no meaning.

Our lives would have no meaning.

Without counting, our lives are unexamined.

And Grace can only connect with Nikola Tesla, the turn-of-the-twentieth-century inventor whose portrait sits on her bedside table and who rescues her in her dreams.

Then one day all the tables at her regular café are full, and as she hesitates in the doorway a strangerSeamus Joseph O'Reilly (19 letters in his name, just like Grace's)invites her to sit with him.

But she understands that no matter how organized you are, how many systems you put in place, you can't plan for people.

They are unpredictable and full of possibilitieslike life itself, a series of maybes and what-ifs.And suddenly, Grace may be about to lose count of the number of ways she can fall in love.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Fiction
  • Rating: 3.57
  • Pages: 243
  • Publish Date: 2008 by Sceptre
  • Isbn10: 0340963778
  • Isbn13: 9780340963777

Read the Book "Addition" Online

It is also one of the first books ever added to this site when I joined years ago. Loved loved loved loved it, Grace still ended up counting her poppy seeds et all, but on her terms.

This is a heartfelt, funny, sensitive look at how obsessions and compulsions can affect everyone around you. Grace is a smart, funny attractive young woman who happens to love numbers. Grace loves her childhood Cuisenaire rods. She is obsessed with Nikola Tesla, best known for being the quintessential mad genius who was largely responsible for giving us AC electricity, among other things. Grace idolised him for his tall, dark and handsome, moustachioed looks and his brilliance with numbers. Nikola, like all truly great people, had a truly great obsession. People dont understand obsessions. I dont worry about co-ordination but there is a disproportionate amount of solid, dark colour in my wardrobe. Mother collects and cheerily passes on the grimmest news, apropos of nothing. (She died horrifically with her baby son when her cars brakes failed and they slammed into the back of a truck is what happened, not what Grace needs to hear every Sunday!) Early on in the story, Grace bumps into Seamus, a pleasant young Irish bloke, at the supermarket checkout as she quietly steals a banana from his basket. At one point, much to Grace's amusement, her mother says, I was just wondering . It is such a funny, perceptive book, and I loved it, shoe-counting, room-measuring, Cuisenaire rods and all!

Before Grace Vandenburg fell victim to her need to order her life and movements by numbers and counting, she was a teacher who loved her job. This novel got me thinking about how these obsessive disorders begin to manifest in people, which in turn reminded me of the games we played as children. I remember as a child we used to play games where we would chant things like "step on a crack and you'll break your back," and so you would be walking or running along the footpath and notice a crack or cracks in the path that would have to be either stepped over or jumped so as not to step on them...lest you tempt fate! Although Grace's "condition" is debilitating to a great extent, she has come to terms with it and is comfortable with the way she has her life organised, and doesn't wish to be "normal," fit in...if that means conforming to other peoples' idea of "normal." She has found work that she can do from home now and has found a comfortably ordered lifestyle that suits her personality perfectly, and she is happy to keep it that way. While others who have varying degrees of compulsions or OCD's, find it stressful and disrupting to their day to day lives, Grace has found a way to organise her life and her things to suit her needs to an acceptable degree of comfort.

This is a wonderful, charming novel. And the man in Graces life is a wonder.

Grace Vandenburg has an unusual form of OCD where her world is controlled by numbers.Every action must abide by some rule that she has formulated - how many times she brushes her teeth, how many steps to the cafe, how many items she buys at the supermarket.

"Addition" starts out strong as Grace, a young woman with OCD, expounds on life, love, counting, and Nikola Tesla. "Addition" has some wonderful moments, particularly when the author draws the reader into the narrator's web of obsessive rituals.

I didn't enjoy Jordan's Our Tiny Useless Hearts, but I wanted to try another novel. The nerd in me enjoyed the bits about Tesla that were interspersed throughout the novel. I enjoyed getting to know Grace. And Grace's behaviour was a bit contradictory to her usual self. This book goes towards my Aussie Authors Challenge 2018 on

Grace Lisa Vandenburg is obsessed with numbers and every day she counts everything she does or eats. Then one day Grace meets, Seamus Joseph OReilly who is not a counter. Not long after meeting, Seamus it's seems that's, Grace's counting obsession is starting to take less priority in her life.

Grace is 35 years old, unmarried, living alone in a 1BR flat in Melbournes suburb of Glen Iris. While this book is a novel, the careful detailing of Graces life and preoccupations suggests that the author has drawn on real peoples experiences of living with OCD.

In the end it's the differences and little idiosyncrasies that make us who we are and there really isn't any one way to be "normal". As the saying goes, "Enjoy the little things in life as one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.

In 1996 she moved to Melbourne, and in 2004 quit her job to study professional writing full time at RMIT University.