Equilibrium, by Lorrie Thomson
With her debut novel, Lorrie Thomson has written an ambitious story about mental illness, suicide, the aftermath of a family’s grief, and the courage to love again.
From the publisher’s description:
In the year since her husband died, Laura Klein’s world has shifted on its axis. It’s not just that she’s raising two children alone—fact is, Laura always did the parenting for both of them. But now her fifteen-year-old daughter, Darcy, is dating a boy with a fast car and faster hands, and thirteen-year-old Troy’s attitude has plummeted along with his voice. Just when she’s resigning herself to a life of worry and selfless support, her charismatic new tenant offers what Laura least expects: a second chance.
Darcy isn’t surprised her mom doesn’t understand her, though she never imagined her suddenly acting like a love-struck teen herself. With Troy starting to show signs of their father’s bipolar disorder, and her best friend increasingly secretive, Darcy turns to her new boyfriend, Nick, for support. Yet Nick has a troubled side of his own, forcing Darcy toward life-altering choices.
Equilibrium is a novel that I should have liked much more than I did. There are several aspects of this story that resonate closely with my own life (my father also died when I was a teenager, although not from suicide or mental illness). I could identify with Darcy’s reaction to her father’s death. But at the same time, there was a part of me that couldn’t completely connect with these characters, which is why I had some difficulty with this novel.
Maybe it was the writing (the novel starts off a bit slow and is somewhat predictable in parts) or maybe it was because there were too many plot scenarios going on. I’m not sure what, exactly, it was and I’m sorry to say I didn’t finish this.
Nonetheless, this is an ambitious novel in terms of its subject matter. I truly commend Ms. Thomson for calling attention to the issue of families experiencing mental illness, and especially for writing about it while her own family was going through the experience of her son’s diagnosis with schizophrenia. That could not have been an easy task.
Just as some books grab us at the perfect time, I think some books also reach us at the wrong time. Maybe that was the situation with me and Equilibrium. For whatever reason, this one just wasn’t for me.
Other reviewers had much more positive experiences with Equilibrium, and I encourage you to read their thoughts here.