“This is the story of a family who didn’t fit in. A little girl who was a bit geeky and liked maths more than makeup. And a boy who liked makeup and didn’t fit into any tribes. And this is what happens to families who don’t fit in—they end up broken and skint and sad. No happy ending here, folks.”
Jojo Moyes has done it again, in her latest novel One Plus One. After reading and having a sob-fest with Me Before You, I was looking forward to the next release of a Moyes novel. Thankfully this novel is a lot less sad, saved me a bunch of money on Kleenex and Ben and Jerry’s. Set in England, the lives of Jessica Thomas and Ed Nicholls are about to collide. Jessica is working two jobs to support her daughter Tanzie and her husband’s son Nicky, and barely making ends meet since her husband left two years ago. She, along with her friend, clean houses of those with vacation homes in her town, and this is where she meets Ed, one of the vacation home owners. Tanzie is a bright student, who is exceptionally amazing at math. With the help of one of her teachers, Tanzie has a chance to enter a prestigious academy with most of the tuition paid for, except Jess must find a few thousand pounds to pay the rest. Enter the opportunity Jess and Tanzie have been looking for, in order to find a way to pay for St. Anne’s Tanzie will be entered in a Math Olympiad. Now Jess must drive illegally up to Scotland for the tournament.
Ed is living the dream. He is working on software development with his best friend, their company now have shareholders, and even though his wife divorced him and took half of what he had earned, Ed gets to light a fire with his old college crush. That small affair gets him into trouble; you see Ed may have given the woman some information on a new product his company will be launching, a product that will benefit stockholders. Ed has just committed “insider trading” and apparently he had no clue that he could get in trouble for this (I find this the most ridiculous thing of all in this novel. I feel like software engineers have bit of logic in their brain, and Ed is 33… so what is his excuse for not knowing that he was committing insider trading? I was really annoyed with this point). Ed has been suspended from work, and has been advised to lay low, so he decides to stay in his vacation home. Ed has also been avoiding going to see his ailing father, because he doesn’t want to disappoint him. After clashing a couple of times with Jess, he finds her pulled over on the side of the road with her two children and the family dog because she had no insurance and registration. After some painful begging from Tanzie, Ed somehow agrees (he does this so that he has a legitimate excuse to not go see his father right away) to take the family to Scotland on the way to see his father.
I really liked the characters and the flow of the story. Ed is completely a normal human being (meaning I can find him anywhere in the world, as opposed to Edward Cullen and such), he makes mistakes, but he can definitely have a girl swooning. Jess is loyal, determined, and probably one of the best fiction parents I have yet to come across. Nicky breaks my heart, I just want to give him a hug and then do his make-up and break the Fishers’ face for him. Tanzie was adorable. The whole book was real, lovely, and at times heart wrenching. It definitely captured the essence of what it takes to be a family, and to be utterly fulfilled.
Thank You Edelweiss. 4 out of 5 stars!