Book Review: The One Plus One – Jojo Moyes, 2014

Trying very hard to keep this spoiler free…

After having now read two Jojo Moyes novels in only one week I might be on my way to become a very, very big fan. I finished “One Plus One” two days ago and I absolutely loved it. It didn’t make me cry as hard and long as “Me Before You” did (thank God :-) ) but I was still moved to tears a few times. Which just proves that a) I cared about those characters and b) they were like real people living through real life things.

Once again I was amazed how Jojo – she replied to my tweets twice already, so I feel comfortable using her first name. Plus I loved the characters she created, they became my “book friends” (or whatever you want to call those fictional characters you care about) and thus it feels like her creator is a friend too, so – where was I ;-)?
Anyway, I was amazed how Jojo creates these real life characters whom I can relate to and empathize with and root for. To want to see them succeed and be happy and to overcome the obstacles life just throws at them, because life throws those at all of us every once in a while. And if they can overcome them, so can I, right?

I was quite happy to see that this wasn’t just a love story, even though I would have been ok with “just” a love story. But this is a story about life and families and dreams and well, love, of course as well. Jojo also did a wonderful job in showing the gap between “the rich and the poor” without making it feel like a lecture or a sociopolitical statement or whatever. The scene in which they discuss the value of £178 per year is a good example. And a bit of a shock to my own system, because I as well would have thought that £3.50 per week is not a lot of money to spend on something (at least in general, I wouldn’t want to spend it for Ed’s new paying app thing, but still…). Whereas I know, but a lot of time forget, that a lot of people (in Germany, UK and elsewhere) have a lot less money to spend. So this has been a reality check, for sure!

I also know the gap between Ed Nicholls, the wealthy selfmade software company guy and his cleaner Jessica Rae Thompson is a necessary part of the plot, and it could have felt like a cliche, but to me it never did. Probably because even though Ed might be wealthy and successful, he is in a lot of trouble when this story starts and he’s clearly unhappy: he might have to go to jail, he is at odds with his best friend, his dad is dying… Even all the money and the cars and the houses doesn’t really help with things like that, do they?

A few reviews compared this novel to the “Little Miss Sunshine” movie and I can only agree, even though this story is still very different. But the whole idea of a few very different people (and in this case also a huge, drooling, fart-y dog *g*) embarking on a road trip together is similar, of course. There are so many funny moments and emotional moments and sad moments and sexy moments and romantic moments and it’s just a very enjoyable trip to embark on as a reader.

There are two (tiny) twists I wasn’t 100% happy with and which almost made me give this novel only a 4 star review. Well, to be honest it was only 1.5 twists. I maybe would have loved the “money/security card” issue to be handled in a different way. Ed’s reaction felt a bit predictable to me and I just somehow wished he would have reacted differently. That’s the 0.5 twist *g* The other one was the detour to visit Marty. I get that it was a vital part of the plot and I think it was a necessary confrontation. I just didn’t quite get behind “Tanzie has to see her dad” at that point in the story, because I’m not quite sure how seeing her dad would have helped her. Maybe because I never had the impression that she missed him so desperately in the first place. But I might be wrong about that.

But this was all more than balanced out with two other, maybe equally tiny parts of this novel. The whole blogging (and I like to add interacting on social media) idea to connect with like-minded people. To find your tribe online, because I have been there and done that and it was such an important experience for me personally.
The other part was in chapter 17 when Jess was thinking about how vitally important it is for a child to feel loved and cherished and supported no matter what. This part sort of sneaked up on me, because it wasn’t prompted by an event that had happened directly before and it was just Jess’s thoughts, but these thoughts still hit home with me for various reasons.

One last praise for Jojo as a writer: I loved how this story is told from four different points of view and I’m impressed that she managed to give each of them a very unique voice, even though it stays a third-person-narration. It’s very well done and it works seamlessly. Well, it did for me and this is my review on my blog so that’s the only opinion that matters ;-)

All in all: A wonderful, inspirational, funny, romantic story. Thumbs up and five stars again.

And a tiny spoiler at the end…

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You’ve been warned…

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I was sooooo giddy and happy to see Jess and Ed (and the kids) get their “happily ever after”. Of course I was hoping for it, but it could have gone either way and it still would have been a wonderful novel about an amazing journey and about finding your place in life and all that. But still… I’m a romantic at heart, so I’m not ashamed to say that I usually love to see a good old happy end. Even more so if it’s  for characters I care about…

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