Title: The Flatshare
Author: Beth O’Leary
Pub Date: April 18th 2019
My Rating: ★★★★★
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Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…
Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.
But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…
I instantly liked Tiffy, even though I couldn’t understand why she was still living with her ex-boyfriend months after he left her for another. But I felt for her desperation, indecisiveness and hope that things will just magically get better. I love that she wasn’t this shy, small, blond, simply dressed in a way that boys like, a girl next door, that romance novels tend to idealize and make the heroines. Tiffy is larger than life, meaning she is tall and probably strongly build, it’s not said that’s she’s fat but she is a big girl because of her posture. She dresses like no other, she loves scarfs, colours and patterns, she doesn’t shy away from wearing DIY projects. She is confident, she loves her clothes, she adores DIY and this positivity and passion radiate from her, and make a lot of people around her instantly happy and drown to her personality. Myself included.
I struggled with Leon’s chapters. In order to portray his introverted character, the author writes his chapters in a completely different style than Tiffy’s chapters. Example from his chapter:
“Wrack brains to remember what Kay actually told me about this woman she’s a… Book editor? sounds like profession of reasonable person with taste? feel fairly certain that Kay made no mention of Essex woman being a bizzare-object collector.”
I finally got used to it, but it took me some time. Leon is not the person that you instantly just adore, he was nice, but he wasn’t over dramatic or emotional like Tiffy, so it wasn’t so that much fun to spend time with him. Leon has a lot of stuff on his head, he is working night in hospice, and he needs cash to help his brother. That’s why he ends with Tiffy as his flatmate, or even a bedmate, as they share the same bad but at different times of the day. A very strange set-up, but hey… it works.
I appreciate how Tiffy’s relationship with her ex-boyfriend was handled, how supportive her friends were. I believe it was a great example of how to support people in questionable relationships, and how to present abuse in books. Not as something that is romanticized, but as something harmful, that others recognize and help you to get out of. A great example of how to help your friends, and how you as a victim can reach for professional or friendly help.
I think fondly of the time I spend with this book, it was all great. I’d love to see this made to a movie.