My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Jojo Moyes is without a doubt one of my favourite novelists of the moment. I first fell in love with her writing when reading The Last Letter from your Lover, a novel I only picked up in boredom when stuck at my mum’s house one rainy Sunday morning. I was so caught up in the story by the time evening fell I had to smuggle the book away from my mum’s so that I could finish it at home (which I did, that evening in bed, tears streaming down my face).
Then, last year I finally got around to reading the much critically acclaimed Me Before You and Jojo Moyes cemented her place as one of my favourite writers. She has a beautiful, simple way of writing about real life, and real love. Not prissy unrealistic romantic love that no normal person can recognise, but the solid, simple foundations that relationships are based on. The everyday occurrences and gestures that can make one person fall hopelessly for another person, turning life from grey to wonderful technicolour. The key to Jojo Moyes’ writing is that it is relatable whilst also being a fantastic escape.
The One Plus One is another breathtaking example of the brilliance of Jojo Moyes’ writing. Centred around single mum of two, Jess Thomas, the novel focuses on their chaotic, loving unconventional family of three (plus an enormous smelly dog), and their struggles to stay above the breadline and out of the way of the detestable bullies they live near on their estate. The main plot of the story focuses on their desperate attempts to fulfil their vast potentials as individuals against the seemingly insurmountable issues holding them back. Insurmountable that is until Ed Nicholls enters their lives and (unintentionally) takes them on an adventure that changes the way they all approach life, for good.
I loved The One Plus One. When I finished it, I spent a good while pondering who my favourite character was. It turned out to be a nigh on impossible task. From awkward Goth teenager Nicky, to adorable pre-teen maths whiz Tanzie, to clever but useless Ed, all of the characters in this book are inherently good people. This, again, is testament to Jojo Moyes’ writing, all of the characters have their own weaknesses and strengths. They all make mistakes, nobody is good 100% of the time, and the resulting characters walk right off the page into your head and nestle there long after you’ve finished the story.
If I did have to pick one character from The One Plus One as my favourite, it would be Jess. There’s something marvellous about her dedication to her children, her willingness to give up so much to give them all she can. She’s a true warrior, and her honesty and integrity even when she makes mistakes was so refreshing. I really found myself rooting for her to find happiness.
I would highly recommend this book to existing fans of Jojo Moyes, it’s another compelling read that will have you laughing and crying all the way to the last page. For anyone who hasn’t read Jojo Moyes’ work before, if you like romance, comedy and gritty realistic drama you will love The One Plus One.
This review first appeared on Nudge-books.com and Goodreads on 26th February 2014.