Monday, November 25, 2013

The Theory of Opposites by Allison Winn Scotch

The Theory of Opposites by Allison Winn Scotch: Willa Chandler-Golden is contentedly living in NYC with her husband Shawn - they live a predictable, but she believes happy, life. The daughter of a renowned self-help author who has risen to fame with his theory that everything happens for a reason and the individual has no real control of their own life, Willa has allowed life to "happen" to her. Until now, she has been quite happy with the hand fate has dealt her; when her husband imposes a break on their marriage and she loses her job, however, Willa wonders if she can, and should, take control of her life.

Willa comes from a colorful, eccentric family.  In addition to her Dad who is in love with himself almost as much as his fame, there is her brother Ollie who teaches yoga to the rich and famous and her sister, Raina, who is a successful attorney with two kids (and a Xanax habit). Willa plays the role of "Switzerland" in the family - keeping the peace while letting them all have their way - unfortauntely, this has prepared her for a life in which she makes few choices and allows others to lead her. Happily married to Shawn and in a job she enjoys, she sees little wrong with the way her life has turned out through her lack of choices.  When Shawn decides her wants a break from their content marriage and cites frustration with Willa's complacency, Willa is forced to question whether her "leave it all to fate" approach is in her best interest and if it is really leading her to fulfillment.

Reeling from the loss of her husband and job,Willa sets out to live differently and to take some risks. Her friend Vanessa is only too happy to help her and pushes her daily to face her fears. Being a TV show producer,Vanessa naturally decides to turn this journey for Willa into a show opportunity and Willa is thrust into a reality episode of a show similar to Amazing Race or Survivor. This insanity aside, Willa comes to some significant revelations on her journey and begins to challenge her Dad's theories and recognize that she had unwittingly bought into them.

My Thoughts
Last year, I read The Song Sounds the Same by Allison Winn  Scotch (my review) and really enjoyed it so I was excited to read her latest.  Interestingly, this is her first self-published novel and she has written in this article about what prompted her to take that route and the experience.

Willa is a great character and one I found myself cheering for - I can relate to allowing things to happen "to" you rather than making things happen in your own life. Although I sometimes found her inertia infuriating, I also understood how hard it is for Willa to take charge and chart the course of her life. The writing is engaging and the book explores an interesting concept - how much of our life is of our own making and how much of it can be attributed to fate?

At times, some of the far fetched plot ploys seemed unnecessary - the "break" imposed by Shawn with the bizarre rules and the stint on the reality show. The book really has a lot to say and the story and the characters could easily stand on their own without the stunts. They did, however, add some levity to the story as did the antics of the crazy Chandler-Golden clan - I was very entertained by her family! This is a fun, enjoyable book which really gives you something to think about  -a winning combination!

I received an e-galley of this book from Edelweiss 


  1. I'm always glad to hear of a self-published novel that works out well. It's a tough world out there in publishing and good that there are other options now for writers!

  2. Thanks for your review. This book is sitting on my shelf.

  3. I have this one on Sparky, and I'm eager to read it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. I've never read Winn Scotch but this book has been getting great buzz so I want to try her work.

  5. I love books that have family at their center; you've convinced me to give this one a try.

  6. Fascinating story behind this story, with that link to her article about self publishing after traditional publishing. I like her happy ending in real life.

  7. I've read a few books by this author, but not this one. I do like the sound of it.

    Hope you've been doing well and had a nice Thanksgiving.

  8. I really enjoyed Time of My Life and liked The Song Remains the Same overall, so I'm really excited about this one. I started it last night and am enjoying it, but it does seem a bit over the top at points.