Book review: The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything

The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything

Kara Gnodde

Pan MacMillan

Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

This book is a story about siblings, friendship, maths, and romance, in that order.

Mimi and Art are disturbingly co-dependent siblings.

While it is never stated, the story alludes that Art is high functioning autistic.

Their parents die while the brother and sister are just on the cusp of adulthood, forcing them to be each other’s support systems.

When they are both in their early thirties, Mimi becomes restless with their situation and decides to seek out a new job and a new love.

The only way to get Art on board with the romance plan is to reel him in with maths.

Mimi’s plan works a little too well and Art sets about to develop an algorithm that will help Mimi find her ideal mate but, while Art is diligently searching, screening, and lining up potential partners, on Mimi’s behalf − and mostly without her consent − Mimi meets Frank and a secret romance is born.

The relationship escalates quickly and when Mimi and Frank decide that they want to get more serious, they finally reveal their romance to Art and the news causes him to spiral out of control, disjointing everything else around him as well.

Maths nerds may enjoy this book because equations and theorems are woven into the story and Art is obsessed with the p=np proof − an enigmatic theory that if solved will apparently solve all of life’s problems.

What I liked about this book is that it kept me guessing.

I could not figure out how the story would resolve because there were too many variables.

However, early on, I almost threw the book aside in disgust because Art’s character has very few likeable traits and Mimi’s doormat attitude towards him does not endear her.

I persevered though and, thankfully, the story gets better in the second half.