The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read this a while ago and now reviews are starting to pop up everywhere I thought I'd add mine.
I feel I should begin this review with an apology to Diane Chamberlain ... Whenever I'm asked who my favourite author is - I name her, as she never fails to delight and presses all my buttons with her lovely romantic family dramas - Well I'm sorry Diane, I'm not dumping you, honest I'm not, its just that Jojo Moyes is my flavour of the month at the moment and looks to be taking top spot for some time yet, I feel almost as though I'm being unfaithful but she just gets better and BETTER.
When I was offered an advance galley of the new book by Jojo Moyes to read and review through the wonderful Netgalley - I was delighted, I adored "the girl you left behind" and so loved her book "Me before you", I really didn't think she could even come close to writing anything that good ever again.
Well I was wrong! She HAS done it again and completely blown me away with her latest romantic novel "the one plus one". I just knew from the first few pages it was going to be something special - you know when you pick up a new book and with some you think "OK I'm sure I'll get into this soon", or "Hmm this looks good", and on the all too rare occasion you get a shiver down your back and go ... "OMG this is AMAZING" - straight off, well that's what I did with this - shivers - immediately.
It's a simple storyline, really. At the start we are introduced to Jess, single parent of a young daughter and stepson, working as a cleaner, living on a sink estate, scrimping and struggling to make ends meet - and this is done so beautifully I found it impossible to believe Jess wasn't someone not only real but very well known to me, I kept wanting to shout out loud at things she thought and felt "me TOO"
Jess really wants better for her kids, and they are amazing kids - down to earth, real, loveable and flawed. Daughter Tanzie 8 years old going on 80, doesn't fit in at school, is regarded as a swot for her passion and uncanny ability with maths. Her stepbrother Nicky, full of teenage angst, Goth verging on Hippy, picked on for his differentness, finds it hard to relate to anyone.
When Tanzie is offered the opportunity of a lifeline, Jess tries desperately to seize the chance for her to gain a scholarship to the school of her dreams but being a real person, and therefore not perfect, Jess makes a few bad decisions and what follows is a comic tragedy of grand proportions - resulting in a journey of a lifetime and the opportunity to change all their lives - but can she make the most of it or will she just make everything a whole lot worse?
Enter Ed, with a story of his own to tell - his life's falling apart and the very last thing he needs in his life are a cleaner, her 2 weird kids and their flatulent, farting, hearth rug of a dog, but he gets sucked into their story and as his own situation gets worse he tries to help Jess - and the unlikely couple hit it off against all odds, even though they are from lifestyles too diverse to even be able to relate to one anothers' problems.
The emotions this book stirs up are very mixed - I gasped aloud with laughter many times, (and it takes quite a lot to tickle my funny bone) I shrieked aloud and I sobbed. My vocabulary can't even begin to do justice to just quite how brilliant I think this book is, how much I loved it.
The sheer poetry of Jojo Moyes writing elevates this page turner of a romance, way above the genre of chick-lit and into the realms of literary fiction, such a pleasure to read and an easy to follow story told with amazing assurance and realism. Every word a joy to read from start to finish. I loved all the main characters especially Norman the great lump of canine daftness and unswerving loyalty who is their dog.
This book is sheer class, pure quality and its what reading is all about. I'm so envious of everyone who hasn't read it yet as you've got all this pleasure ahead of you - read it and enjoy every nuance.