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* Post contains spoilers, you have been warned*
After reading the blurb for this book I still didn’t really know what to expect but after loving After You and Still Me by Jojo Moyes I was ready to give it a go. I shall start by saying that The One Plus One is very different from the other two novels I had read. Although the others did have realistic storylines and tugged at the heart strings, The One Plus One can only be described as a blow to the gut. In parts it made me feel the nerves and the anger from the characters and others made me look like I was catching flies as I read (I believe the real saying here is ‘jaw dropping’) and from a book that I was at first uncertain about as I closed the pages I found it a great read.
I really didn’t know where this story was going to go when I started reading it. Following the conversations of two cleaners losing a job it felt almost too realistic and as I read for escapism and entertainment I wasn’t sure this was going to provide a happy ending. I am very glad that I continued to read because I did indeed enjoy each of the characters developments throughout the story. The story follows Jess, her young daughter Tanzie, her non-biological teenage son Nicky and lastly Ed, the rich, slightly rude but helpful acquaintance. After some extreme car trouble with Jess’ car, Ed offers to drive the family to Scotland. Their time in the car together becomes the story and this is very reflective on real life situations. Long journeys always tend to promote conversations that wouldn’t usually be had or provoke irritations within the confined space. The story conveys this perfectly and makes it even more tense as the characters are strangers to each other.
I am not usually a fan of books that switch between the characters voices but The One Plus One did this well. The story flowed, didn’t change scenes completely and I found it easy to follow, something that I don’t find in many of this type. I also enjoyed the characters voices themselves. Even though two of the characters are younger and you can tell this isn’t disruptive and they would seem ‘grown up’ for their age, especially Nicky towards the end of the book.
A couple of storyline twists in the book left me open mouthed in shock for a minute or two and I thoroughly enjoyed this about it. Finding out where Jess’ partner was and the accident with Tanzie and the dog towards the end were a definite surprise, not pleasant but interesting. And even better that it ended positively.
As the story is mainly centred around Jess the reader gets to know her character a little more. I do prefer to read books which have a female lead who is strong, independent and aspirational and although Jess is these things it is portrayed in a way completely different compared to female characters in other narratives. Instead of the high flying careers, designer labels and jet set life that I usually find in women’s literature, this is down to earth, arguably more realistic for the masses and aspirational in other ways. Ways like; working hard pays off, be a good person and be true to yourself. There are so many underlying meanings in the book, probably even a few that I didn’t catch, that the reader is bound to come away with something and I’ll definitely be keeping this one on the bookshelf to read again in the future.
Have you read The One Plus One or any other books by Jojo Moyes?