The One Plus One

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One single mum
With two jobs and two children, Jess Thomas does her best day after day. But it’s hard on your own. And sometimes you take risks you shouldn’t. Because you have to…

One chaotic family
Jess’s gifted, quirky daughter Tanzie is brilliant with numbers, but without a helping hand she’ll never get the chance to shine. And Nicky, Jess’s teenage stepson, can’t fight the bullies alone. Sometimes Jess feels like they’re sinking…

One handsome stranger
Into their lives comes Ed Nicholls, a man whose life is in chaos, and who is running from a deeply uncertain future. But he has time on his hands. He knows what it’s like to be lonely. And he wants to help…

One unexpected love story
The One Plus One is captivating and unconventional romance about two lost souls meeting in the most unlikely circumstances.

368 pages; Fiction/Romance/Chic Lit; 2014

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Have you ever come across a written masterpiece and vowed to devour anything that author has published? For me that is Kate Morton, Jodi Picoult, and of late, Jojo Moyes.

Both “Me Before You” and “The Girl You Left Behind” blew me away so when I learned of “The One Plus One”, I immediately shoved the rest of my To-Read list aside, discarded “Winter’s Tale” by Mark Helprin until further notice, and tried to lose myself in Jojo Moyes’ latest work.

One of the things that stood out to me was that for the first time (in my Moyes reading experience), Moyes seemed to be writing of a seemingly ordinary family. There was no sort of the electrifying portrait that withstood decades only to land in the midst of a custody battle. There was none of the sort of underlying romance between a man who could barely care for himself and the woman hired to show him his life had meaning.

What do we have to contend with? We have a young mother of two (8 year old stepson when she was 19, biological daughter at 20) who cleans houses for a living with her best friend. We have a man whose great intelligence seems to vanish at the snap of a finger …should that finger belong to the irresistible Deanna Lewis whom he drooled over with his best friend in high school. We have Jess’s teenage stepson who just wants to be able to walk the damn dog without getting pummelled for wearing black eyeliner and being different from the other kids at school. And lastly, we have Jess’s daughter, a mini mathematician who has just been handed the key to unlocking her future at a prestigious school for highly accomplished students.

Unbeknownst to me at first, “ordinary” became the wrong word. “Ordinary” could not possibly be used to describe the black eye that bulges from your son’s face, planted there by a family of bullies as passersby stood motionless, unwilling to take the necessary step forward to save him. “Ordinary” has no place in the vocabulary of an 8-year-old math prodigy who must compete in a Math Olympiad in Scotland for 90% of her tuition to be taken care of. “Ordinary” belongs outside of a courtroom where a man desperately tries to prove he didn’t mean to share insider information on a software that could enable the wrong person to snag financial gain from it. And “ordinary” is not usually the case when one gets fired from her job for not committing thievery, the job that assisted in feeding your children and paying for the family’s needs while your ex-husband recuperates from his “mental breakdown” (that occurred two years ago) at his mother’s house.

Suddenly, there it was. The little links in the chain that screamed this author’s name. She writes of real people. Will, Louisa, Sophie, Liv, and now the Thomases and Mr Nicholls. She writes of people you come to miss when the last page turns, people who expect nothing from the world but do what they can to survive in it. She writes of people who don’t mean to fall for one another but do. And she writes of the magnanimity of humankind, the sort that is buried deep in the gentlest of hearts.

So maybe this was a little more “chic lit” than the other books of hers I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know. And maybe it’s only 4 macarons to me compared to the 5 I gave the rest.

But it’s still worth the time and watching this family climb out of all the hells life has thrown at them is nothing short of extraordinary.

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1. Perfect – Pink
2. Creep – Radiohead
3. Numb – Linkin Park
4. Read All About It – Professor Green ft. Emeli Sande
5. Beautiful – Eminem
6. Who You Are – Jessie J
7. Somewhere I Belong – Linkin Park
8.Β Everything Has Changed – Taylor Swift ft. Ed Sheeran
9. Passenger Seat – Stephen Speaks
10. The Reason – Hoobastank
11. Unconditionally – Katy Perry

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