One Plus One
After writing about the dearth of good mothers in fiction and hearing about how good the mother is in One Plus One by Jojo Moyes, I read the novel while spending the week largely in my bedroom, nursing two out-of-place floating ribs that I injured while bending at the waist and lifting something heavy out of my very low oven and caring for our six-week-old kitten, Pippin. I’m going to post some pictures of six to seven-week-old Pippin, at Litlove’s request, even though they have nothing to do with the novel except that I often held it in one hand while a kitten was playing with the other.
One Plus One is a nice little domestic romance novel with a road trip, a bit of class consciousness, and some mathematical metaphor, like that “the sum of a number can be more than its constituent parts.”
The good mother of the story, Jess, is raising the child she had at 16, Tanzie, and another, older child who isn’t related to her but was living with her ex-husband when she moved in, Nicky. The man who is giving them a ride to the math Olympiad where Tanzie wants to compete is Ed Nicholls, and as his life gets more woven with theirs he teaches Nicky how to express his feelings on a blog, even after Nicky declaires that “blogs are like for middle-aged women writing about their divorces and cats and stuff.”
It turns out that Jess is a good mother partly in reaction to her own less-than-satisfactory mother, a woman who “had been right about many things. She had told Jess on the day she started secondary school: ‘The choices you make now will determine the rest of your life.’ All Jess heard was someone telling her she should pin down her whole self, like a butterfly. That was the thing: when you put someone down all the time, eventually they stopped listening to the sensible stuff.”
One plus one, of course, turns out to equal a whole family, and it was a nice little domestic story for a very domestic week.
Can you see how Pippin has grown?