“Get lost. Then get found. Closing your eyes really just means closing a door. Never close a door when you have the chance to leave it open.”
~Willa Chandler, via Allison Winn Scotch in The Theory of Opposites
If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile then you probably know that Allison Winn Scotch is one of my must-buy authors. Not only have I enjoyed every book I’ve read of hers, but she’s one of the kindest people out there. She has a blog that’s a treasure trove for writers, she makes herself accessible and open to readers, and now she’s blazing a new path as she ventures into the world of self-publishing with her new novel THE THEORY OF OPPOSITES.
This book … please do yourself a favor and buy it. Immediately. Not only is it my favorite of Allison’s, but it’s one of my favorites ever. It is just that good, guys. The characters burst out of the pages and settle themselves in your heart from the very first page, and then they refuse to leave … even when you’re not reading … even when you’re actively doing something else … even when you’ve finished the book. I can’t tell you how many times I’d be taking a walk, or watching tv, or whatever, and this colorful cast would pop into my mind. I thought about them, I wondered about them, I was proud of them, I learned from them, I was inspired by them. Truly.
Main character Willa has been contained within the umbrella of her father’s shadow for her whole life. His bestselling book tells readers that everything happens for a reason, that free will always loses to fate, that “what will be, will be.” Don’t bother to swim upstream, because the downward current won’t let it happen. Willa’s trapped into inertia by her father’s beliefs. Until her ex-boyfriend friends her on Facebook. And her husband suggests they take a two-month break. And her twelve-year-old nephew Nicky moves in for the summer. And her best friend Vanessa dares her to change her life, to take every one of her instincts and do the opposite.
What follows is the journey of a lifetime for Willa. Watching her learn to follow her heart, seeing her find the courage of her convictions, traveling along as she digs deep and lets herself change her destiny, one step at a time … it makes for a wonderfully inspiring story. I found myself rooting not only for Willa the whole way, but also the rest of the lovable cast of characters. Vanessa is the kind of best friend we all wish for, one who pushes us and fights for us. Theo is a unique spin on a pillar of support, there for Willa but still giving her the space she needs to figure things out on her own. Raina and Ollie, Willa’s siblings, make you smile and laugh. And Nicky … he just might be one of my favorite characters in any book I’ve ever read. He’s warmth and wisdom and chutzpah.
It’s rare that a book makes me misty-eyed, but this one did. When Willa finally finds the strength to be herself, when her world blossoms from pastel to technicolor … well, I won’t ruin the ending, but suffice it to say it’s an awesome scene. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this idea – that sometimes we feel like being ourselves isn’t good enough, that sometimes there are people in our lives who make us feel that way through their actions (or inactions). But there are others who boost us up. Who love us just the way we are. Don’t we owe it to our hearts to love ourselves the same way? I think, above all, that’s what I took from this book: to fly free, to leap even when we’re afraid of falling, to embrace who we are and to deliberately swim upstream … because who knows what currents we can create?