Realistic Fiction | Golden Skate

Realistic Fiction


Final Flight
May 4, 2015
I’ve just read One Plus One by JoJo Moyes, which I recommend. The action starts at a small seaside town not far from London. Jess Thomas is a struggling mother of two, whose husband has left her and moved in with his mother after a nervous breakdown caused by their poverty and failure of his money-making schemes. She works in a local bar and also cleans homes in the wealthy part of the town, while single-handedly supporting their ten-year-old daughter Constance and her husband’s teenage son Nick from a previous relationship, who joined their family two years into their marriage, following abandonment by his own drug-addicted mother. Jess herself got pregnant with Constance and married at seventeen, so she’s barely ten years older than Nick, but she does her best to take care of the kids, insisting that they forego junk food and eat healthily even on the road, teaching them staunch principles and admitting her own mistakes. However, life keeps throwing challenges at her that even her determination can’t overcome. Nick is being bullied by a bunch of local goons who everybody is afraid to testify against, while Constance is offered a 90% scholarship to a local private school on account of her talent in math, but the problem is Jess can’t come up even with the 10% of their fees. She’d like to embrace the solution of taking her daughter to a math Olympiad in Scotland with the hope that she’ll win a prize there, but again Jess can’t afford either the two-way train tickets for three, or to have the family car fixed. One of the people she cleans a house for, Ed Nicholls, a gifted programmer who’s founded his own software company, offers Jess, her kids and their large dog a lift, because he needs to travel to Scotland anyway to see his dying father. What Jess initially doesn’t know is that he’s being investigated for insider trading (from which he didn’t benefit himself) and is about to lose both his company and all his assets – in fact, he’ll be very lucky, if he doesn’t have to go to prison. Ed would desperately wish to keep his parents from finding out about all of this, but with the newspapers starting to cover the case he has no choice, but to tell them.

It’s a story of two people supporting each other in trying times and amounting to something more together than they’re separately, hence the title. It’s also a story of two people who’ve made not the wisest decisions, but who are determined to make the best of the situation they find themselves in and survive it with their conscience and dignity intact: although she’s often tired and worried, Jess is always calm, cheerful, optimistic, warm and supportive with her kids; Ed could easily lie in court and plead not guilty, but chooses not to. I also liked how romance naturally developed between them. At first it was the furthest thing from their minds, not surprisingly; nor is there any immediate attraction. He is eventually taken with her character and personality. She first begins to think of him as something more than a lucky circumstance when she notices the rapport he develops with her kids: having been an outsider himself at high school, he understands where Nick is coming from, and, as a fellow geek, he understands Constance too and enjoys interactions with her.
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Oct 19, 2019
Lot, by Bryan Washington--it's actually a collection of short stories, excellent writing. I don't read too many contemporary fiction but this one was good.