One Plus One: A Novel by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
One single mom. One chaotic family. One quirky stranger. One irresistible love story from the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You
American audiences have fallen in love with Jojo Moyes. Ever since she debuted stateside, she has captivated readers and reviewers alike, and hit the New York Times bestseller list with the word-of-mouth sensation, Me Before You. Now, with One Plus One, she’s written another contemporary opposites-attract love story that reads like a modern-day Two for the Road.
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.
One Plus One is Jojo Moyes at her astounding best. You’ll laugh, you’ll weep, and when you flip the last page, you’ll want to start all over again.
My thoughts: There are things you need to know about this author's style before embarking on reading one of her books. First, she's incredibly gifted in writing. Second, she uses a fair amount of bad language. I would call it moderate so be aware. Third, she's British. English is not the same so there is a little translation between British and American. Fourth, her characters are unconventional and extremely likeable. Fifth, she is the best example I know of showing the reader everything in an incredibly entertaining manner.
One of the nearly main characters is Norman, a large indeterminate breed of dog that makes you want to hug him and run from him. He's also ten year old Tanzie's rock. Why do we want to run from Norman? It's not his size. That would be too obvious, although his size was supposed to be a deterrent for people like Jason Fisher, a bully that we definitely don't like. No, Norman sleeps a lot and takes up a lot of room so he's not scary. Moyes places him in an expensive Audi in the back seat where he sheds like crazy, his jowls droop open on the sides, and slobber drips from the gaps in his dog lips. Big, stringy drops. I mean, that's not exactly how the author describes it but her description left me with that vision I just wrote. Also, Norman has a problem with his constitution. He has a very large gastrointestinal system and the Audi is very, very small.
Imagine getting to know each of these characters via the author's little revelations. Like how eccentric Tanzie really is. She's a math genius. They have to get to Scotland. They have no money and a car that is not insured or taxes paid. Jess is a horrible driver. Description included. Ed, without thinking, offers to drive them; Jess, the optimistic mother, Nicky, the goth, sullen but gentle stepson, Tanzie, a math savant, and Norman. Don't drive too fast or Tanzie throws up. How fast is too fast? Under 35 mph. What happens if he pushes it? It was a lovely Audi, wasn't it? Before?
The characters are quirky. The story is quirky. The lessons learned are universal. I very, very much enjoyed reading the book but I did have to skip my eyes over quite a number of "f" words. I still liked it more than thought I would.