When I read the description of this book, it didn't sound like something I'd like. Struggling single mom, road trip, corporate guy with career problems. None of these are things to which I can relate. But the book is written by Jojo Moyes, and the two books I read of hers last year - Me Before You and Girl You Left Behind are two of the best books I've ever read. So I decided to give this a try, and I was so glad I did.
Moyes has the ability to create characters in such a way that even though in real life, I have absolutely nothing in common with any of these people, I still felt like I knew them. I still cared about them, and to be quite sappy - I was happy and sad for them, laughed and cried and all that.
I admit, near the beginning of the book, I didn't really like the mom in this story. Jess is just so very noble, it gets annoying at times. She's too good to take her kids to McDonalds (personally, I don't go to McDonalds either - but if you're on a road trip with limited time and a limited budget, come on, it's isn't like a lifestyle change, it's just a quick meal). Little things like that bothered me.
But in the end, I pretty much loved this story. Other than Jess, I really liked all the other characters in this story - the two kids and Ed were great. They're all a little quirky and interesting, without being annoying. There are a few rather absurd coincidences, but you know, this is fiction, and to tell the truth, real life has some rather absurd coincidences in it if you pay enough attention. It was never to the extent where I was saying, oh whatever, that would never happen. If anything, I had just the opposite feeling - like maybe somehow things fall into place in the world the way they're supposed to - sometimes.
This is the third book I've read by Jojo Moyes and I'm always impressed with her ability to create these characters and this world that feels so real and can evoke so many emotions. I spent all day reading this book and when I finished, I had that moment in which I felt like my own life was pathetically dull in comparison. Don't get me wrong, I don't envy their situation, they had some bad things happen along the way, and I never would have survived that road trip - car sickness, a smelly dog, bad food, all at 40 mph. Road trip from hell. Would have been so much easier to have given them the money and put them on the train - but then there wouldn't be a story.
This is such a good book. I'm going to recommend it to everyone. I honestly can't imagine anyone not liking it. So add this to your summer reading list. You'll be glad you did.
I received a review copy of this via NetGalley.