Cover Image: One Ordinary Day at a Time

One Ordinary Day at a Time

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Member Reviews

Jodie and Simon are twenty-something people who meet at a fast-food restaurant in London as they take on minimum wage soul-destroying jobs.  Jodie is a single mother, devoted to her son but trying to escape the vicious circle of poverty that has dogged her through a childhood in care and an abusive relationship, she has ambitions to study at Cambridge.  Simon is a mathematical genius whose life work is to solve complex hypotheses, a former child prodigy he has spiralled into obsessive behaviour following a difficult upbringing.  These two unlikely characters form a strange friendship which helps both of them confront their demons.
I absolutely loved this book which surprised me as it is a genre that I find to glib in most cases.  In common with Harris' first novel, society and mental illness are to the fore and handled extremely well.  The descriptions of the life led by the two main characters is realistic - mouldy bedsits, payday loans, minimum wage jobs - and the supporting cast are well-rounded.  The 'twists' at the end for both characters were totally expected but that didn't stop this being a really good read which hit home emotionally.
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Excellent read. 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me read an advance copy of this book in exchange for my feedback.
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One Ordinary Day is a heartwarming read, very well written that brings you the kind of characters you will fall in love with. 
Simon and Jodie, our two main characters, are living with heartbreak, they are a bit cautious around each other and both feel vulnerable because of their pasts. 
I enjoyed how a friendship soon develops between them, I felt the more I read the more I understood them. I was rooting for both of them, I’d taken them to heart and wanted a happy ending of course. 
You will be swept away by this book from the start, I didn’t want to put it down. There are ups and downs, nothing does ever go smoothly does it?! You aren’t given the predictable and that’s something I enjoyed. A lovely ending and a wonderful story. Thank you.
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One Ordinary Day At A Time is the beautiful and memorable new novel by Sarah J. Harris. I really enjoyed it and I read it in two days. At times, it is fun, at times emotional and heart-breaking, and there is also a bit of suspense that kept me on edge. What I loved most about this incredible story is the two – and a half – protagonists: Simon, Jodie, and her seven-year-old son Zak.

I loved the friendship between Simon and Jodie. They couldn’t be more different and yet, very similar. Simon is genius. At work, his colleagues call him “Prof”, his IQ is higher than Einstein and Stephen Hawkins, he went to Cambridge when he was 15 years old, his social skills often offend people, and he loves math, pub quizzes, and his goal in life is to solve the Riemann Hypothesis, but his day-job it to make fries at Prince Burger. Here he meets Jodie. A single young mother with a seven-year-old son, Jodie needs the job at Prince Burger to support her and her son Zak, but she dreams to get into Cambridge to study English Literature and assure her son a better life. Jodie asks Simon to tutor her for the entrance exam at Cambridge, while she will help him with his social skill and slowly but steady they form a beautiful friendship, but they keep from each other secrets and a troubled and difficult childhood. Simon’s childhood was spent with his nose into a book under the close and hard scrutiny of his father and the only person who showed him love was his mother. Jodie was raised in the foster system, going from home to home, neglected by everyone except Lizzie, the librarian who introduced her to literature and Charles Dickens.

One Ordinary Day At A Time is an incredible story and I am still thinking about it days later after finishing reading it. The characters are authentic and relatable. I felt for them, for their dreams, their hopes, their regrets, their guilt, and I rooted for them to have their happy ending. The story is brilliantly-written and it captured me from the very beginning. I couldn’t recommend it more!
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I loved this book which brings together two people who form a very unlikely friendship. Simon is a former twin child genius who has ended up working in  the local burger joint where he struggles to find his way among normal social cues and interaction. Jodie is a single mum  of Zak. She was brought up in the care system, trusts no one and is focused on gaining a place at Cambridge to read English Literature. Both Simon and Jodie have secrets in their past that are re-emerging for them to deal with. Jodiie is being helped to apply for uni by Simon in exchange for her trying to teach him to be more sociable and empathetic. This book deftly explores this unlikely friendship, it is humorous, amusing but also heart wrenching. It is a lovely book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for the chance to read and review an advance copy.
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One Ordinary Day At A Time’ is the latest book by Sarah J. Harris.

Simon Sparks is the man you know from behind the counter at the local Prince Burger (‘hold the gherkin!’), fry shovelling, shelf stacking, hiding away from the world. And Jodie Brook is the single mum you see crossing the street with her son Zak – always chasing a dream she can’t reach. What if life could be so much more? When Simon and Jodie’s worlds collide, it upends everything they know. But in chaos comes opportunity. And for every person who’s ever doubted them, they find someone who’ll finally believe…

If you want a story that will warm your heart and lift your spirits, then pick up a copy of the this uplifting book.

The story is seen through alternating chapters between Simon and Jodie who are both at crossroads in the world but find an unlikely connection with each other when they begin working with each other at Prince Burger. Simon was a child prodigy but ended up working in a fast food outlet whilst his twin brother is a top surgeon in New York. Jodie is a struggling single mother who aspires to become a teacher and be able to provide a better quality life for herself and her adorable little boy called Zak.

From the beginning, this story was easy to get absorbed in. It’s beautifully written with relatable characters that not only connect with each other but also with the reader. Simon is a fascinating character, although extremely intelligent, he lacks proper social skills and makes people feel awkward and uncomfortable around him, which in turn has the same effect on him. Jodie was a teenage mum, who’s trying to move on from her past but regularly finds it reappearing in her life and fearing for the safety of herself and her sweet little boy.

I loved the interactions between Simon and Jodie, initially it’s awkward but it’s lovely to see it progress towards friendship and develop confidence and support to each other.

This story is a warm one, but also has some tender and witty moments that add to the charm of the story.

A gorgeous and inspirational story about unlikely friendships and following your dreams, ‘One Ordinary Day at a Time’ is a heartwarming story that will bring a smile to your day.

You can buy ‘One Ordinary Day At A Time’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.
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There's so much to love in this life-affirming, heartwarming and well written story.
You cannot help loving Jodie and Simon, their friendship and their struggles. They are underdogs and Jodie fight for something better.
Great characters and I couldn't help rooting for them.
There are dark issues but there's also love, humour and hope.
It's an excellent read that I strongly recommend.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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This is a beautifully written and truly original novel.

One Ordinary Day at a Time is a lovely heartstring-tugging tale. Jodie Brook is a struggling single mum who has a son, seven-year-old Zak. Jodie, brought up in a dysfunctional family, is always chasing dreams and applies to study English Literature at Cambridge University. Former child maths genius Simon Sparks also went to Cambridge at 15 but now spends his days working in a fast-food restaurant, "Prince Burger". He spends his spare time fine-tuning his quizzing skills among other things. One Ordinary Day at a Time is all about what happens when their worlds collide.

The story was characterised by a cast of terrific people. The book cleverly weaves together the present-day tale of Jodie and Simon with a gradual introduction to the backstories of them both, and the reader learns more about them as the tale progresses. Intriguingly and delightfully told by the author, Sarah J Harris, it was a remarkable book on many levels. Her incredible writing totally brought this amusing and emotional tale of friendship to life and the ending was fitting and satisfying. This is a brilliant novel not to be missed.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request, from HarperCollins UK/ HarperFiction via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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A story of two unusual disparate characters who meet while they are both working in a hamburger joint. One is a young autistic young man lost in a world of mathematics that helps him escape the realities of life. The other after being abandoned as a child by a drug addict the product of care homes and foster parents. Who is now a single parent, having escaped from a physically abusive husband. When she discovers that the young man has a maths degree from Cambridge, she as an English student aspiring to get into Cambridge, tries to befriend him to gain his help to prepare her for her entrance interview. After various events and with persistent they agree on a deal, she to help him in human engagement and he to coach her for Cambridge entrance. As they get to know each other they find that they each need to help each other to admit to their dark secrets and to overcome their individual nemesis and how with love and support from colleagues and friends after some dramatic events they manage to repair their lives with hope for the future.
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I really liked The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder, but Sarah J Harris's second novel is even better - I loved the characters and the story.

For single mum Jodie, who grew up in care and has suffered past domestic violence and present poverty, life has never not been a struggle, but she dreams of a better life for herself and son Zak, applying to study English Literature at Cambridge. 

Former child maths genius Simon Sparks also went to Cambridge - at the age of fifteen - but now spends his days frying chips in a fast food restaurant ("Prince Burger") and the rest of his time trying to crack the Riemann hypothesis and honing his quizzing skills. Unlike his successful brother William, Simon has never fulfilled the childhood potential, despite his bullying father's efforts.

When Jodie and Simon meet at work, things don't get off to the best of starts (he throws a brick at her) but they somehow forge a connection which will be important to both. I loved both of these characters, and there are lots of great subsidiary characters too, including Jodie's son Zak, the staff at Prince Burger, the Three Wise Men quiz team, among others.

A very enjoyable and satisfying read.
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My thanks to HarperCollins U.K. for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘One Ordinary Day at a Time’ by Sarah J. Harris in exchange for an honest review.

This was a gentle comedy-drama that explores the friendship between two lonely people who have both had difficult lives.

As a child Simon Sparks took part in a popular contest, ‘Little Einsteins: Britain’s Brainiest Kids’ where he was nicknamed ‘Memory Boy’. Yet despite his high IQ and aspirations to study mathematics at Cambridge, he is now shovelling fries, stacking shelves, and manning the counter at Prince Burger. In his spare time he still hopes to be the first mathematician to solve the Riemann Hypothesis.

Jodie Brook is a single mum, who grew up in foster care. As a result she is seeking to give her seven-year-old  son Zak the best life possible. She also is chasing her own dreams of studying English Literature at a Cambridge College. Jodie takes a job at Prince Burger where she meets Simon.

I found this an uplifting and heartwarming novel that wasn’t afraid to also explore darker themes such as mental illness and domestic and psychological abuse. Aside from its appealing leads, there are a number of quirky supporting characters. I loved that the focus was on friendship rather than a conventional romance.

It is also a novel infused with an appreciation of literature. Harris’ Epigraph quotes the famous ‘Teach Facts’ passage by Thomas Gradgrind in Charles Dickens’ ‘Hard Times’. This quote highlights the tension between the fact-based study of science and mathematics and the more interpretive study of literature. In the pub quiz that features throughout the novel, participants are called on to have knowledge of both.

I had previously enjoyed Harris’ 2018 debut, ‘The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder’, and felt that this was an exceptional second novel. It is the kind of novel that I would expect to appeal to a wide readership and also be a popular choice for reading groups.
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A really different book.

Enjoyable and quirky I liked the characters even though I couldn’t always relate to them.

The story is different a little slow to get into but once I did o really enjoyed it.
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I really loved the colour of bee larkhams murder and was excited to read one ordinary day at a time. 

I did enjoy reading the book, struggled at times, but I'm glad I kept on. I preferred the colour of bee larkhams murder to be honest. However this book was a heartwarming but also thought provoking read! 

Follows the story of the 2 main characters Simon and jodie. Lots of feels! 

Thank you netgalley for a copy of this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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A pleasant read of a generally feel good kind of story. There are some very serious issues too but we’ll handled in this quirky book. I liked Simon and Jodie but overall probably not blown away. I would still recommend it as it’s at least original.
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I just couldn’t get into this book. I would like to try it again though!

The writing was great, I don’t know what the issue was. Perhaps it was the case of ‘not the right time’ ?
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This is one of those novels which is thought provoking, at times, comical and at others, poignant. I loved all the characters, from Simon and Jodie through to their friends and neighbours. Even the cat at the burger bar emerges as a force to be reckoned with. Jodie's story is one of courage and determination. Despite her difficult childhood when she was a Looked After Child, she has retained a drive to succeed and a determination to make her own luck and to aim high. There are times in the story when her confidence wavers but you are always rooting for her to succeed. 

    Simon is a complicated young man who is the product of an abusive childhood. Both Jodie and Simon have been the victims of bullying and coercive behaviour. Whereas Jodie has been overlooked by the system, Simon has been hot housed. However, the results of both experiences were not positive. There are some unlikely friendships formed in the story. The message which comes through loud and clear, however, is that kindness and friendship are the key to a happy life. Emotional intelligence is so much more important than rote learning of facts. This is at times an emotional read but full of humour and humanity.

In short: A tale of lost potential and new beginnings
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I struggled a bit at the beginning of this story as it was very sad and cruel, but keep going because it turns into an amazing story. with detailed descriptions of mental traumas due to family influences and the survival of the human spirit against the odds. Great characters with a strong feel good factor. The brilliant conclusion renews your faith in human nature..
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I really enjoyed The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder, so was delighted to get a copy of One Ordinary Day at a Time. 

The novel centres around Simon Sparks, a guy in his 30s with a very high IQ. His social skills are lacking and he’s very much a loner. He works in a fast food restaurant, and this is how he meets Jodie. 
Jodie is a single mum in her 20s, living in poverty and trying to do the best for her son. 

At first they don’t get on and Jodie thinks Simon is weird. They learn more about each other and strike up an unlikely friendship. Jodie and her son bring some fun into Simon’s regimented and lonely life. 
Both of them have had very difficult pasts and more is revealed about this as the story goes on.

This is such a readable book and I loved the characters. The way the friendship between Jodie and Simon develops is lovely and they bring some much needed kindness to each other. 

This book tackles a lot of issues, such as poverty, domestic abuse and mental illness, to name a few. All these issues are dealt with sensitively. 
It’s clear the author has put a lot of effort into researching for the book and I thought it was authentic. 

The book is at times funny, heartbreaking and heartwarming. 

I’m sad to have finished it as I enjoyed the characters and the story so much. 

I can’t wait for more books from this author and highly recommend this!

Thanks to Harper Collins and NetGalley for an advance copy for review.
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I've been in a reading slump. I didn't actually fully comprehend how much of a slump I was in until I picked up this book and just inhaled it. What an absolutely fabulous book. I couldn't put it down, I laughed, I cried, and I fell in love with all of the characters. On her second outing, Sarah J Harris lived up to all my expectations after I loved The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder, and what I loved was how different it was, but equally brilliant. 

The book focuses on our two protaginists, Simon, the Prof, who is a quiz master genuis, but maybe less of a genius in other ways, and Jodie, the girl who takes you by surprise with her wit and her intelligence after having a lifetime of people writing her off. These two characters are fantastic, but all of the other characters really help bring this book to life too. Even the whispers of characters that you never really get the chance to know fill this book with life. Underlying this, it's a good social commentary not only on the care system and the obstacles that people may have to take to overcome predujice. But also the prejudice of mental health and how being honest with ourselves is often the first step towards recovery.

There were so many glorious aspects about this book, and I could gush all over it, but doing so would ruin it for everyone else. The small twists that I didn't see coming, the gasps, the tears the happiness. Please read this. It will brighten your day and I hope you find it as touching as I found it.
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The story begins with Simon as a young boy, he is taking part in Little Einstein’s and is tasked with answering all of the English Literature questions correctly in the sudden death round in order to win. When he gets distracted by his mother crying in the audience he loses his focus and answers incorrectly.

Then we fast forward to the present day where Simon, the previous child genius is now working as a Fry Cook at Prince Burger and is still having some lapses in concentration – which results in some burnt foo incidents. When single mum Jodie starts working in Prince Burger after being told for many years that she will never amount to anything, she aspires more than anything to study English at Cambridge University.

What happens from this point onwards is truly heartwarming. Simon takes Jodie under his wing as they begin working alongside one another, and before long the pair become inseparable. Whilst enjoying one another’s company, Simon begins to help Jodie train in order to achieve her educational dreams.

This is one of those utterly delightful stories that you become invested in from the very beginning. The leading characters Simon and Jodie are wonderfully developed and have realistic, human qualities and flaws which make them all the more relatable to the reader. I loved the dynamics between them, and the dialogue that the author creates between them is captivating.

The story flows wonderfully and keeps you engaged to the very end. The plot is utterly unique and you find yourself fully immersed in the world in which the author has created. This is a fantastic book that I would urge you all to read!.
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