Title: Equilibrium by Lorrie Thomson
Publisher: Kensington Books
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Length: 337 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
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.
Exploring the effects of grief on both mother and daughter, Equilibrium is a thoughtful, resolutely uplifting novel about finding the balance between holding on and letting go, between knowing when to mourn and when to hope, and between the love we seek and the love we choose to give.
Lorrie Thomson’s debut novel Equilibrium is a poignant novel that is quite hopeful despite the serious subject matter. It is an engaging story of new beginnings for Laura Klein and her children as they continue to struggle with their lingering grief over Jack’s suicide.
With the one year anniversary of Jack’s death approaching, Laura and her teenagers, Darcy and Troy, are still dealing with the aftermath of not only Jack’s death, but the aftereffects of living with someone with bipolar disorder. Laura is wrapping up the final details of settling Jack’s estate when she decides to rent his studio to Aidan Walsh, a resident at the local hospital. Daughter Darcy becomes involved with a fellow classmate with a troubled past. Most troubling for Laura is the possibility that Troy is beginning to exhibit symptoms of the bipolar disorder that ultimately destroyed Jack.
For the largest part of her marriage, Laura has been responsible not only for caring for their children, but Jack as well. His struggle with bipolar disorder dominated the family as he went on and off his meds, experienced manic episodes and attempted suicide multiple times. As a result, Laura is hyper vigilant as she watches for symptoms of bipolar disorder in Darcy and Troy. She is also a little controlling and over involved in her children’s lives. Laura continually butts heads with Darcy but her relationship with Troy is close and relatively trouble free. Although she is still grieving Jack’s death, Laura is beginning to re-evaluate their relationship and she reaches some very startling conclusions about her deceased husband and their marriage.
Darcy and Troy are fairly typical teens. Both have unresolved anger and guilt over their father’s suicide and the effects that his behavior had on their lives when he was alive. Darcy’s life is full of teenage drama and angst as she experiences ups and downs with her two closest friends and embarks on a troubling relationship with newcomer Nick.
Since Equilibrium is told from both Darcy and Laura’s perspectives, Troy remains on the periphery of the overall story. He plays a pivotal role in the overall plot, but he is a relatively minor character. For the most part, Troy is a nice counterpoint to Darcy’s drama. He is more even-keeled and less emotional and since he is more open, Troy’s conflicted feelings about Jack are revealed fairly early on in the novel.
There is a romantic element to Equilibrium but it is secondary to the overall story. In addition to Darcy and Nick’s budding relationship, there is also a low key romance between Laura and Aidan. It simmers on the backburner for most of the story, but it picks up speed and plays a more prominent role near the novel’s end.
Never depressing, Equilibrium is a thought-provoking novel. It is a little slow paced in the beginning but it quickly becomes a compelling read that is difficult to put down. Lorrie Thomson deftly handles difficult and stigmatized issues with sensitivity and she never glosses over the devastating effects of mental illness.