Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet).
I don’t think I’ve read a Jojo Moyes book I haven’t loved yet, plus I’d heard lots of great things about The One Plus One, so choosing to review this book was a no-brainer. Did I enjoy it? Sure did! Here’s the blurb:
One single mum: With two jobs and two children, Jess Thomas does her best day after day. But it’s hard on your own. And sometimes you take risks you shouldn’t. Because you have to …
One chaotic family: Jess’s gifted, quirky daughter Tanzie is brilliant with numbers, but without a helping hand she’ll never get the chance to shine. And Nicky, Jess’s teenage stepson, can’t fight the bullies alone. Sometimes Jess feels like they’re sinking …
One handsome stranger: Into their lives comes Ed Nicholls, a man with a past who is running from a deeply uncertain future. But he has time on his hands. He knows what it’s like to be lonely. And he wants to help …
Jojo Moyes is a strong talent in the contemporary fiction genre. She has a knack for bringing to life situations that could just as well be real life. Perhaps they are a bit funnier (but then, I’ll bet if when we stop taking ourselves so seriously there are some really funny moments in among our everyday issues).
In The One Plus One, Moyes throws together two people from very different backgrounds – a single mum struggling to raise her daughter and stepson with no help from their father, and a single man whose only responsibility is to himself and his company. There’s a lovely life lesson when Jess and Tanzie point out that Ed’s version of “not very much money” is vastly different to their own.
In Jess, Moyes has created a character most women can identify with in some way in so far as she’s doing her best to get by in a tough world. She works several jobs and does the best she can to bring up the kids; she’s fiercely protective and she hides her vulnerability behind a smart mouth. At times she feels overwhelmed by the pressure of trying to stay strong and make things work even when everything is falling apart around her. Who can’t relate to that?
As much as this is a story about the emerging relationship between Jess and Ed, it’s also about family – both the notion that family is important, and the concept that not all families are made in the same way. Oh, and that family can drive you crazy, as much as you love it and need it.
This is a book written from the heart that will warm you up from top to bottom. Laugh out loud moments contrast with sad and “unfair” moments, bringing together a story full of drama, hope and reading pleasure. I loved it.
Available from good bookstores. My copy was courtesy of Penguin Books Australia.