One Plus One by Jojo Moyes is about Jess, a struggling single mother after her husband Marty leaves. Jess works hard at trying to pay her bills. Many times she can’t make her bills, but through it all she stays positive. Jess’s 10-year-old daughter Tanzie is a math wiz. She is quirky and everything she sees, she sees in numbers. She can’t help it.
Nicky is Marty’s son with his ex-wife and neither of them can to take care of Nicky so he ends up with Jess, who raises him like her own. Nicky is 15, a gamer and he dresses Goth, so he gets picked on by the local bullies, the Fisher brothers. They pick on him so bad he ends up in the hospital.
Then there is Ed. A software programmer who just sold his company and gave information to a woman he just wanted to get out of his life. Sharing this stock information has put Ed into the middle of an insider trading scandal.
Jess cleans Ed’s vacation house and also works at a bar. While suspended from work, Ed goes to the bar where Jess works. One night while Ed is totally drunk, Jess takes him home in a taxi and after Ed has been put to bed in his home, Jess finds Ed’s work building access key card and a roll of money.
Tanzi has been invited to a math Olympics in Scotland which if she wins, she would earn $5,000. This money would help with tuition to a private school. Jess packs up the kids and the very large dog Norman into Marty’s junky Rolls Royce which breaks down on the side of the road. As the police are talking with Jess at the side of the road, Ed drives by and stops to help. He then agrees to drive the family to Scotland since he doesn’t have anything else on his schedule.
During this three day journey (they can’t go over 40 due to Tanzie and her motion sickness), each of them starts to heal from their different wounds. Ed starts to realize that what he is missing in his life is a family.
I really enjoyed this book. Jojo knows how to give substance to her characters and knows how to make the reader care for the characters. You start to hope things work out for all of them and everything becomes right in the world. Jojo Moyes is becoming one of my favorite authors and this is a book that should not be passed up.
Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.
Until next week…enjoy the view from your passenger seat