Author: Jojo Moyes

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Book Review: One Plus One

August 8, 2014 Book Review, reviews 15

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.

Book Review:  One Plus OneOne Plus One by Jojo Moyes
Published by Pamela Dorman Imprint on July 1st, 2014
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 384
Source: complimentary review copy
AmazonBarnes & Noble
Goodreads

 

After enjoying The Last Letter to Your Lover and Me Before You my expectations for One Plus One were moderate.   Little did I know that I would be blown away by One Plus One, left crying for the last 1/3 of the book, and then closing the last page with a sigh of deep satisfaction.  Jojo Moyes is getting better and better.  Her novels are not formulaic making Moyes truly an author to follow.

In One Plus One, Jess is a single mother to math whiz Tanzie and her goth teenage step-son Nicky.  Her ex-husband has gone home to his Mommy leaving Jess caring for and single-handedly supporting their daughter and his son.  Jess works two jobs just to make ends meet.  Tanzie is offered an unprecedented scholarship to an elite boarding school but Jess cannot afford the measly 10% she would have to kick in unless Tanzie wins the cash prize at the Math Olympiad.  To make matters even worse, Nicky is horribly bullied and roughed up on a regular basis by the Fisher bullies.

Ed Nichols is a brilliant tech millionaire for whom Jess cleans house.  Ed has problems of his own that are just as serious as Jess’ just on a different scale.  The difference between the two is that Jess is a consummate optimist while Ed is stuck in “me, me, me” mode.  When Ed uncharacteristically offers to drive Jess, Nicky, Tanzie and their big lug of a dog Norman to the Math Olympiad for Tanzie’s big chance, all of their lives are changed in ways they never would have imagined.

[Tweet “Feel-good novel that takes you from tears to laughter!”]

With One Plus One, I laughed, I cringed, I cried. . .and then I did all three at the same time!  The characters are unique and yet most anyone can relate in some small way to at least one of the lively bunch.  For me, it was Jess.  Having been that single mom desperately trying to make ends meet, wanting my brilliant kids to have every chance in the world to thrive and yet having to make do with very little resources is tough to say the least.  Staying optimistic is difficult yet essential for the health and well-being of mom and kids and Jess is clearly a poster child for optimism.

This is a feel-good read that should not be missed.  If you liked Where’d You Go, Bernadette, A Grown-Up Kind-of Pretty or The Husband’s Secret then you will love One Plus One!

The publisher has a fabulous Book Club Kit available here.  My favorite is the playlist on Spotify and the recipe for “Puppy Chow!”

Have you read any of JoJo Moyes novels? Do you have a favorite?

 

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Book Review: Me Before You

August 21, 2013 Book Review, reviews 9

Book Review: Me Before YouMe Before You by Jojo Moyes
Published by Pamela Dorman Imprint on December 31, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Women, Fiction
Pages: 369
Source: purchased
Goodreads

You only get one life.  It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.

If you’ve spent much time around here you’ll recall I’m in a book club with both of my daughters and a few other lovely ladies.  Although we missed having a June meeting, July found our merry band of sisterhood together discussing Jojo Moyes runaway bestseller, Me Before You.  It’s difficult to visit any type of bookish site and not see the cheery red cover, although cheery and the contents do not quite mesh! Louisa Clark loses her job at a cafe precipitating her to seek employment through the local job-search office.  After a few false starts and practically being arm-wrestled into accepting the position, Louisa agrees to become caretaker to cantankerous quadriplegic, Will Traynor. As the novel unfolds, layers are peeled back on most every character from Louisa’s chosen (or more like, non-chosen) life’s path, Will’s will (and non-will) to live as a quadriplegic, Will’s wealthy parents and their motivations along with Louisa’s common-class parent’s motivations.  No one is spared including Louisa’s personal trainer boyfriend and college dropout sister.  The nucleus; however, is always Will and Louisa. Told mainly from the viewpoint of Louisa, or “Clark” as Will calls her, the novel appears more balanced ~ it’s when Moyes throws in a chapter from Will’s mother’s perspective or that of Louisa’s sister that the novel becomes a bit fragmented.  Typically, I enjoy reading a novel from differing viewpoints but as it was not done in a consistent manner throughout Me Before You I felt a bit disjointed. A story of many subtleties that comes down to the choices we make and the effect those choices have on those we love.  Although there were no real surprises in Me Before You, the novel does lend itself to much discussion in a book club.  The writing tended to be a bit predictable but the plot-line and the lessons each character learns in order to grow and move on is truly what makes the novel memorable.  Recommend, especially for book clubs and Nicholas Sparks fans. probably my favorite quote and personal motto~

I needed to tell him, silently, that things might change, grow, or fail, but that life did go on.  That we were all part of some great cycle, some pattern that it was only God’s purpose to understand. . . . .A silent promise, if you like, that there was a bigger picture, a brighter future.

 

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