REVIEW — One Plus One
After finishing ME BEFORE YOU, I went on a hunt to find something equally amazing to stifle the crippling hangover it had given me. What better way to do that than by reading another piece by the fabulous JoJo Moyes? Except One Plus One, while good, lacked something. I couldn’t tell you what that thing was, but I finished it and wondered if I missed something.
One Plus One is about a single mom, Jess, and her two kids who are both so different it made me think of my own kids. Tanzie, Jess’s biological daughter, is brilliant, a little math wiz who gets a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend a prestigious private school Jess couldn’t possibly afford. Jess is already working two jobs and still has to sew her children clothes and constantly has to worry about bills and keeping their home. Paying even half the tuition is an impossibility that made me want to reach into my own wallet, even though they’re fictional.
I felt so horrible for Jess. She tried so hard and you could feel how helpless she felt, but she was so strong, mainly for her kids. Her husband, a good for nothing bum who leaves them before life gets too hard for him (yeah, that was my reaction, too), doesn’t just leave Jess and Tanzie, he leaves his son from another woman with Jess, a gangly, awkward, goth of a boy named Nicky who I adored. He was my favorite character, honestly. There was just so much pain in him, so much love and acceptance. I wanted to hug him.
The book was hilarious in the beginning. The events that unfold as Jess tries so hard to get Tanzie across the country to participate in some maths Olympiad so she can win money to go to her fancy school, will make you groan, but it gets worse when her efforts land her in the lap of Ed, a man that was an absolute ass to her just a few days earlier. But Ed is going through his own problems. He’s about to lose everything and the last thing he needs in his life is a bossy woman, two kids, and a smelly dog (did I not mention the dog? Yes, there is a massive dog in tow, Norman who reminds me of my own dog).
But something changes midway. The story progresses fairly rapidly and you can’t help root for Tanzie the entire way. That little girl deserves this, she deserves to win and go to her school and become the world’s best mathematician. Of course there’s several other obstacles they must face along the way, but the moment things really changed for me, I think, is when they go to visit Tanzie and Nicky’s father. I think the story really took a turn for me from there. I won’t give away spoilers, but Tanzie’s reaction really pissed me off. She’s such a smart girl and after everything that happened before and everything that happened after, I just felt like she really betrayed Jess. I was so disappointed in her.
Nevertheless, a fun, fast read if you’re on a road trip.