Wednesday, September 13, 2023


The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything
by Kara Gnodde
Publication: March 7, 2023
Publisher: HARPER
Genre: General Fiction
Rating: ★★★★

With the offbeat charm of The Rosie Project and generous warmth of The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot, a wry, moving debut novel about a pair of unforgettable siblings and a love triangle of sorts—one with math as its beating heart. One of Cosmopolitan's Best Books of 2023 Meet Art and Mimi Brotherton. Devoted siblings and housemates, they’re bound together by the tragic death of their parents. Mathematical genius Art relies on logic, while Mimi prefers to follow her heart. When Mimi decides she needs more from life than dutifully tending to her brilliant brother, she asks for his help to find love. Art agrees, but on one that she find her soulmate using a strict mathematical principle. Things seem promising, until Mimi meets a romantic, spontaneous stargazer who’s also a mathematician. Despite Mimi’s obvious affection for the quirky Frank, Art is wary of him from their very first encounter. As Art's mistrust of Frank grows, so do Mimi's feelings, and the siblings' relationship is brought to a breaking point. Something about Frank doesn't quite add up, and only Art can see it . . . The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything is a tender, intelligent and uplifting novel about brothers and sisters, true love in all its forms, and how the answers to life’s biggest questions follow a logic of their own.


I would like to apologize to Ms. Gnodde and HarperCollins for the delay in writing this review. I had a hard time getting into this book, but once I did, I was moved by its emotional depth. I didn't expect it.

The book tells the story of Mimi and Art Brotherton, adult siblings who live together. Art is a neurodivergent mathematical genius who is working on solving the greatest mathematical enigma and saving the world. Mimi is his devoted sister who has sacrificed her own life to take care of him after their parents' death. Art's eccentricities make every day a challenge for Mimi, especially when it comes to finding love. And although Art has a mathematical solution for that too, Mimi manages to meet Frank on her own. Mimi falls head over heels for Frank, but, Frank doesn't quite fit Art's equation. Facts and Truth are always big variables for Art and Mimi.

THE THEORY OF (NOT QUITE) EVERYTHING is a novel that explores the complex relationship between siblings, the nature of love and grief in many forms, but what struck me the most was the trauma of abandonment and the monopoly of truth and how people cope with them. Having lost both of my parents, especially my mom whom I lost just recently, I felt for Mimi and Art, and their struggles.

Despite the heavy themes, it’s a story that will make you laugh, cry and think. The words are exquisite and beautiful. The characters are realistic and relatable, and the plot is full of twists and surprises. This book made me want to send warm hugs to both my parents in heaven and to my siblings far away.

Readers need not be big fans of math to enjoy this read. If you're looking for a book that is quirky, heartwarming and intelligent, you should give this one a try.


About the Author:
Photo credit to the source.
Kara Gnodde was born in Johannesburg and raised on a diet of Dr. Seuss and no TV. After graduating from the University of Cape Town, she joined Saatchi & Saatchi in London as a strategic planner -- work that required head and heart, her favorite kind. She lived in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore before settling back in the UK with her husband and three children. A discussion on the radio about a math problem that could change the world, or perhaps just help keep her desk tidy, gave her a place to start The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything, her debut novel. -

*Printed ARC provided by HarperCollins Canada in exchange for this unbiased review.


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