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One Plus One

June 1, 2015

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. FullSizeRender (2)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.”

FullSizeRender (3)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?

10 Comments leave one →
  1. June 1, 2015 8:48 am

    Wouldn’t it be nice if kittens and puppies stayed little like that? Pippin is so cute!

    One Plus One sounds like something I’d like.

    • June 2, 2015 8:40 am

      It’s fun to have a kitten for a while, but I couldn’t stand living with someone so little and dependent on me for too long. I like adolescent and grown-up cats.
      I think you’d like One Plus One, too.

  2. June 1, 2015 3:11 pm

    Oh, the rib injury sounds painful! Hope you’re doing better. Glad to hear you enjoyed One Plus One. I’ve not yet managed to read any more JoJo Moyes yet – but I’ve heard lots of good things about Me Before You. Kitty continues to be cute!

    • June 2, 2015 8:41 am

      I am doing better, except for the irony of needing to bend from the waist more often with a kitten around.
      I’ve also heard good things about Me Before You.

  3. lemming permalink
    June 1, 2015 6:43 pm

    Love the Pippin pictures, and I understand how a mother’s words at such a moment could have such an effect.

    • June 2, 2015 8:42 am

      Yes–and even though I think you aren’t quite as contrary as I am, you can see how a woman could live her whole adult life in rebellion against the dictates of such a mother.

  4. June 2, 2015 5:02 pm

    Ouch your poor ribs! We will try not to do too much excitement when you are visiting us. 🙂 Also, we owe you an email and are aware of it, and we will email you back tonight, promise. (Mumsy has been doing family obligations this week.)

    I really liked One Plus One; I’ve advanced it to the level of Official Comfort Read. It bears up well to a reread, I’ve discovered, which is a crucial criterion in these matters. Plus the damn dog doesn’t damn die.

    • June 3, 2015 12:58 pm

      We are so looking forward to Walker Percy weekend and then some Jenny&Mumsy on Sunday!
      I did like it that the dog didn’t die. I also loved that his newest software offering took his conversations with Jess into account.

  5. June 5, 2015 9:58 am

    Thank you for the photos! That kitten is just totes adorbs – there is no other way to put it. I want one!! I read one of Jojo Moyes earlier novels and enjoyed it – she does good comfort-food narrative.

  6. June 8, 2015 12:54 pm

    Sounds like a good book though I must admit to being distracted by the kitten photos! I love how at that age the only way to get a photo of them that isn’t slightly blurry is when they are asleep!

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