The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

Jess is a hardworking single mum with two kids and two jobs. She works hard to make sure her family have everything they need despite little support from her ex-husband. Tanzie is her daughter; a maths genius who is destined to do well for herself if she can find the right way to push forward her education. Nicky is her stepson; a shy and slightly different kid who isn’t accepted for who he is and often gets bullied for standing out from the crowd. Ed is a successful software developer with two homes who can afford a cleaner and pretty much anything he wants.

Jojo Moyes makes Jess and Ed perfectly believable characters who by chance end up on long car journey with her two kids and very large dog. This is a story as much about the children’s evolving relationships with their mum as it is about her relationship with Ed. Tanzie and Nicky are lovely characters who you are rooting for the whole way through the book. Jess isn’t depicted as a weak woman who needs a man to save her; instead as a strong independent woman who is doing her best for her children. She’s a good role model for them.

I love the humour and awkwardness that Jojo Moyes introduces to her books. It takes the edge off what could be a very cliche, sickly love story to become more believable. The most emotional part of the book came at an unexpected point for me, but I won’t spoil that for others.

3/5 stars

Get the book here The One Plus One

I was involved in a web chat with Jojo Moyes to talk about her latest book and film over on Mumsnet. Here’s what Jojo had to say to my questions:

You tend to depict strong female characters in your books. Is that something you have to actively try for, or do they come quite naturally to you?

It’s a conscious effort on my part. I’m increasingly concerned about the portrayal of young women in culture and the media, and I try not to be part of the problem. So yes, I consciously create female characters who may be flawed, but are resourceful, brave, practical, kind, uninterested in designer goods and while they might fall in love, do not necessarily define themselves by whether or not they have a man.

Have you any plans for another book yet? And what was the last book you read of your own choice rather than research?

I’m 40,000 words into one now, but that’s always a tricky stage for me. I’m as likely to dump it as I am to stick with it. And the last book I read for choice was Patrick Gale’s A Place Called Winter (mentioned in another part of this thread). It’s a sort of historical Brokeback Mountain.

Have you had much input for the film version of Me Before You? I think the casting choices are great!

I’ve written many drafts of the screenplay, and I’m in regular contact with the studio and the director, so I feel like I’ve been unusually lucky in the degree of input I’ve had. And I can’t take credit for the casting, but I can say that I’m very happy with who they picked. There were many amazing actors who auditioned for it, but these two really did jump off the screen.

See the full chat here.

I received this book from Mumsnet in exchange for a review.

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