Wednesday, July 23, 2014

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
Published July 2014 by Pamela Dorman Books
Source: Netgalley

Publisher's Summary:
Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight in shining armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.

My Thoughts:
"Good things happen to good people" - it's Jess' mantra, although it's difficult to know why. Other than her children, it seems as if almost nothing good as every happened to Jess. Pregnant at seventeen, married to a man who not only didn't support his family but sunk all of their money into pie-in-the-sky schemes and then who had a breakdown and left home, saddled with raising a boy who is not her own and who is profoundly unhappy, and forced to work two jobs and still barely able to make ends meet. It seems that positive attitude is the only way that Jess can keep going, trying to make a life for her family. When her first attempt to get her family to Scotland for that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity fails, Jess' positive attitude takes a big hit, a hit that forces her to accept an offer of help from Ed. A man she really, really doesn't like. Also a man she has just "borrowed" some money from, unbeknownst to him. This sets up a story line that could be nothing more than your standard rom-com - the battling couple you just know will end up falling in love. But for Jess "there's no room in my life for the whole one-plus-one thing."

"The only things Jess really cared about were those two children and letting them know they were okay. Because even if the whole world was throwing rocks at you, if you had your mother at your back, you'd be okay. Some deep-rooted part of you would know you were loved. That you deserved to be loved."

Moyes' is much too talented a writer to let things become mired in predictability. Moyes' characters are quirky, nuanced, and real. Her story lines balance cold hard slaps of reality with light-hearted moments. In One Plus One, Moyes takes aim at the widening gap between the rich and the poor, never stooping to making all wealthy people appear elitist and snooty nor the poor sad and pathetic.

Fans of Moyes will be happy to recognize the things they love about her writing but Moyes' books never follow a predictable pattern so readers will always find something new to love. While this one will not replace the special place in my heart that Me Before You holds, I loved this book.
"I might not fit in the way that you first with your family, neatly, a little row of round pegs in perfectly round holes. In our family all our pegs and holes belonged somewhere else first, and they're all sort of jammed in and a bit lopsided."
Moyes' books are not round pegs that fit into round holes - it's what makes them so special.

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