book review: Jo Cox: More in Common by Brendan Cox

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JO COX: MORE IN COMMON by Brendan Cox
★★★★★
Hodder & Stoughton, 2017

I cried a lot in the middle seat on a plane listening to this audiobook. (I’m not an audiobook person but I get very motion sick and I can’t read on planes, so a few people suggested I try a nonfiction book narrated by the author. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any of the ones I was looking for, but when browsing the nonfiction section Jo Cox’s biography caught my eye, which I had been interested in reading for a while. Luke Thompson does a good job with the narration – empathetic but not overly sentimental in a tale already rightfully wrought with sentiment.)

Anyway, this book wrecked me. I’m not British, and I’ll admit to not knowing anything about Jo Cox until her murder in 2016. But I remember looking her up that day, seeing her relatively young face, reading briefly about her politics, and just feeling very deeply sad.

In her biography written by her husband and fellow politician Brendan, we delve into the life and politics of an incredibly strong, inspiring, and resilient individual. I have so much respect for Brendan Cox to be able to write this biography only nine months after Jo’s murder, in the midst of grieving the loss of his wife and mother of his two young children. Brendan’s love for Jo shines through every page of this book, but he still manages to depict her as a real and flawed person.

From her background working with Oxfam to her humanitarian efforts in developing countries to her passion for providing aid to Syrian civilians, Jo’s work and personal life were both characterized by her fervor and determination to provide equal opportunities to as many people as her efforts would reach. It’s an effort that is thankfully ongoing – all proceeds from this book go to the Jo Cox Foundation.

And even though I’m sadder now knowing what a truly beautiful soul was lost that day, I think it’s incredible just how much positive change Jo was able to instigate in her short life. This is a book that everyone should read – Jo’s story is one that everyone should hear, regardless of interest in or knowledge of British politics.