Author: Jojo Moyes
Narrators: Elizabeth Bower, Ben Elliot, Nicola Stanton, Steven France
Story rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Audio rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Overall rating: 5 of 5 Stars
I’ve read this book two months ago and it still stays in my thoughts. Not in a way “this book broke my heart, and I’m still picking up pieces”, but in a way “this book made me happy and put a smile on my face”.
One Plus One is the most lighthearted and funniest book by Jojo Moyes I’ve read so far. It reminded me of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty in that sense that Jojo Moyes manages to tell us about sad, depressing things in such light, full of hope manner that reader never feels overwhelmed by negative emotions.
But this book is not all fun. Yes, there were many comical moments, but there also were heartbreaking scenes, which made me tear up.
What this book is about? Two years ago Jess’s husband suffered depression and went to live with his mother. She raises their daughter Tanzie and her stepson Nicky alone, working low paid jobs and trying to meet ends. Now her Goth stepson is bullied and her math genius daughter has a chance to go to a private math school on a scholarship, but Jess can’t afford even this small payment. Their last desperate chance is a Math Olympiad where Tanzie can win needed sum of money. The only problem, it takes place in Scotland, and they need to get there. This is where Ed comes to rescue; he offered to ride them to Olympiad. Ed is a technology millionaire, whose life recently came apart. He faces major legal problems. This is how this road trip for Jess, Ed, Nicky, Tanzie and Norman (their big and stinky dog) begins.
As all Jojo Moyes’s books, One Plus One is very character-driven story. The author brought to life such interesting complex characters. Jess, Ed, Nicky, Tanzie, each of them has their own personality, their own voice, and the audio format only added to this difference. They are so imperfectly real.
Jess was such a sunny and full of life heroine. Her motto was
“Good things happen to good people. You just have to keep faith.” Her life was hard but she was so optimistic. It was heartbreaking to see how she at one point lost her believe in goodness. I wanted to hug her and I was happy that Ed was with her.
What surprised me the most was the romance. It was sweet, touching and unexpectedly full of eroticism and passion.
“As they drove she kept stealing looks at him. She found she couldn’t see his hands without picturing them on her skin, that soft mop of hair travelling slowly down her bare stomach. She thought about the smell of him, the tough muscle and the smooth skin of him.”
Despite wonderful romance, One Plus One is more family and character’s growth book. Jojo Moyes masterfully pictures different types of relationship here: Jess and Tanzie, Jess and Nicky, fantastic sibling bound between Tanzie and Nicky, Ed’s relationship with his family, with his father. I was especially touched by Nicky and Tanzie, there were so much love, caring and support between them.
My thoughts about the audiobook
Narration was very good. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to a multiple narration and I forgot how wonderful it is when each character has their own voice. There were four narrators, each for Jess, Ed, Nicky and Tanzie and they’d done a great job bringing these characters to life. I also liked that Nicky and Tanzie sounded like a teenage boy and a girl. I find it very annoying when a young character is performed by a narrator with an “old” voice.
One Plus One ended up on my favorite shelf. I highly recommend it to those who love character driven stories about family and love.