Last week I said on my blog that One Plus One wasn’t rocking my world. I thought it was cute, but didn’t find myself transported away by the story. I was very aware that I was reading about a single mother, her kids and a messed up tech entrepreneur. However, Jojo Moyes did it again. The deeper I got into One Plus One, the more emotionally invested I became in this oddball family. Shucks, I even got choked up and teary-eyed a few times.
* CONTAINS SPOILERS
Jess Thomas is a single mom who has been abandoned by her husband and left caring for their preteen daughter, Tanzie, and her ex’s teenage son from another marriage, Nicky. Jess has two jobs and worries constantly about how to make ends meet, about her shy and insecure daughter, and the constant bullying Nicky faces. The snobby and arrogant Edward Nicholls owns one of the beach cottages Jess cleans. Ed has troubles of his own after giving the woman he was sleeping with sensitive information about his company. Now under investigation by the FSA, Ed is trying to keep a low profile, including not answering his sister’s pleas to visit their sick father. Out one night in his car, Ed comes across Jess, her kids and their monstrous dog on the side of the road with a busted vehicle, explaining to the police that they are trying to reach a maths competition. He surprises himself by volunteering to drive them to Scotland and so begins a cross-country journey full of drama and discovery, as Jess, Ed and the kids come together in love and understanding.
Other reviewers are calling this a geeky love story and even the book jacket declares One Plus One “an irresistible love story”. It’s partly true, but in my opinion it’s a family love story and about sticking together. One Plus One pulls at your heartstrings, but with unconventional characters and by travelling along an unbeaten path.
The chapters are written with an alternating person viewpoint which I think causes some confusion in the beginning until you get the hang of the characters and story. Also, as is typical with romantic comedies, when you have one crazy incident after another, it all becomes borderline silly rather than funny. Luckily, the story doesn’t go too overboard.
Although I still believe Me Before You is a better book because of how skillfully Jojo Moyes handles the subject matter, One Plus One won’t disappoint anyone looking to read a warm and fuzzy story with loveable characters. When I didn’t love the book in the beginning, I wondered if I should rethink reading The Girl You Left Behind or any other Jojo Moyes book. After reading this book, I can’t wait to get my hands on something – anything – by her!