One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Publication Date: 1 July 2014
Genre: Literary Fiction / Women's Fiction
My Copy: Library - hardback
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.
Wow. I think I love Jojo Moyes even more than I did after I read Me Before You. Her books are just what I'm looking for right now, a little bit romance and a little bit real life. This is a lovely story about a woman who is trying so hard to provide for her children and teach them kindness and honesty. It's also about a man who doesn't really appreciate the good life he has. It takes a very long road trip in a small car with 4 people and a dog to really allow Jess and her kids to relax and make Ed see how good he really has it. But Jess did something desperate that may change everything.
Jess is a single mom who does everything she can to keep her head above water. She's positive and quick to bounce back from problems (both Ed and Nicky refer to her as Tigger). She works two low income jobs to keep the roof over their heads and food on the table, but she still has a hard time paying the bills. Her daughter Tanzie is a math genius, and her stepson Nicky is socially awkward and bullied. The police ignore the escalating problems her children face with the neighbor hood bullies even after Nicky gets his face busted up. Tanzie is very innocent and naive, and Nicky tries to shield her from the world. Ed is rich by most standards but doesn't see how lucky he really is. He makes a mistake in an effort to remove a clingy woman from his life, and it comes back to threaten his whole life.
Jess does her best to put a brave face on and encourage her children, but it's not easy when it seems like everything is falling apart. Tanzie gets a chance to go to a fancy school, but Jess doesn't have the money. One night Ed ends up at the bar where she works, and she gets him home in a cab. Once she gets him home and leaves, she's faced with a moral dilemma which haunts her throughout the book. It's really a great plot line with humor and sorrow. I definitely laughed several times and cried at others. You want so desperately to help Jess and her kids out that it hurts. I'll be looking for another Jojo Moyes book to read soon, and I absolutely recommend this one!