Book Review: The One Plus One by JoJo Moyes

The One Plus One

Probably for very ridiculous reasons I had never read any JoJo Moyes novels until about 18 months ago when I was introduced to Moyes novel ‘Me Before You’ by way of my book club.  I loved this novel so much and for the life of me I can’t quite explain why it has taken until now to embark on another one.  Anyway, ‘The One Plus One’ is one of the many second-hand books my mum and I picked up during our visit to the Hay festival this year.  A very well spent £2 (or £1 each as we were sharing!!) This is a marvellous book.

“One single mom. One chaotic family. One quirky stranger. One irresistible love story” Good Reads

Jess is the single mum, struggling to make ends meet as she supports her family via a cleaning job and doing shifts in the local pub.  Jess’s chaotic family consists of Tanzie, her mathematically gifted daughter. Nicky, her eye liner wearing bullied teenage son and Norman their enormous drooling dog. The quirky stranger is Ed Nichols; intelligent, wealthy, and successful but facing the consequences of a bad decision.

Tanzie has the opportunity to take part in a maths competition in Scotland.  The substantial prize money should she win could be the key to the families much needed funds. With her usual optimism Jess decides to drive the family there in her ex husbands dilapidated Rolls Royce.  This decision leads to an unexpected encounter with Ed and so begins their geographical and emotional journey together.

Each chapter is narrated by either Jess, Ed, Tanzie or Nicky.  This is a lovely device for achieving a well rounded story from the perspective of each character.  This is a love story.  Traditional romantic love, love for family and even pet love but it has a quirkiness that makes it anything but a predictable love story.  Much of the story takes place within the confines of a car with the odd foray into motorway services and dodgy hotels.  There is plenty of humour and lots of lighter moments but at the heart of this story is a single mum trying to do the best for her family with all the odds stacked against her.  Jess’s situation and the genuineness of each of the characters and the individual struggles they are facing means the story never becomes sugary or sentimental.

I hesitate to describe this as easy reading because as a description it doesn’t do it justice.  The One Plus One is easy to read but that’s because it’s so very good.

If you are someone usually put off by thick novels, do not be put off by this one.  Each one of the 516 pages is brilliantly written.  In fact the story and the writing is so good you won’t even notice the size of the book as you gallop your way through it.

I have just discovered that a sequel to Me Before You is coming out later this month.  Hurrah, hopefully this will ensure it won’t be another 18 months until I read another novel by the very talented JoJo Moyes.

Which other JoJo Moyes novels would you recommend?

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