I don’t know about you, but sometimes my reading list can get serious and dark for my mood, which is when I’m desperate to change things up and read something more heartfelt and cheery.
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary has been drawing up a lot of attention on #bookstagram lately, so I thought, why not give it a try?
I assumed The Flatshare would be a light read, fast paced, and something that would be a good filler between my readings of Believing Women in Islam (review coming in November) and The Sellout(already reviewed). Little did I know, it wouldn’t be the standard, cookie-cutter chick lit that usually has more misses than hits.
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary absolutely won my heart with its adorable lead: Tiffy who you’ll find to be larger than life and the typeface/font size through which she is described. I fell head over heels in love with this story, and I’m not joking when I say that this is by far the best Chick Lit I’ve read!
It’s got everything from humor, to quirky characters, to real life situations, and nothing feels too unrealistic.
“Life is often simple, but you don’t notice how simple it was until it gets incredibly complicated, like how you never feel grateful for being well until you’re ill, or how you never appreciate your tights drawer until you rip a pair and have no spares.”
The story of The Flatshare is about Tiffy a book editor who works in niche genres like knitting/Crochet and Leon who works as a nurse at a hospice. Leon needs extra cash and puts up an unusual ad where he is looking to rent his apartment from evening to the morning. Luckily, it fits the budget Tiffy has who needs to move out of her ex’s apartment but can’t afford to live on her own.
“Your brain can do amazing stuff to protect itself from pain,” Mo tells me. “But it’ll struggle to keep secrets from the rest of you for long.”
Soon enough, The Flatshare becomes a workable situation for both of them where they don’t bump into each other – made sure by Leon’s stuck up girlfriend – or come back home at the same time. However, over time they become acquainted through post-it notes left around the house, food, objects that need to go, books that suddenly grab Leon’s attention, and scarves that Tiffy loves.
“It’s weird how easily you can get to know someone from the traces they leave behind when they go.”
However, that is not all.
At the heart of The Flatshare is the value of having friends that want the best for you despite your shortcomings. You can see them in the form of two of Tiffy’s best friend Gertrude and Mo, and how both play “bad cop/good cop” in Tiffy’s life, and Rachel her work best friend that helps her find herself after the breakup.
Similarly, from Leon’s perspective we can see how his little brother: Richie – who’s story ends up becoming an important part of the plotline – helps Leon despite not being near him. The Flatshare had me reeling in laughter at some points, and in tears at other.
I freaking loved the polar opposite personalities of both Tiffy and Leon, and found their first time meeting extremely true to the beginning of their relationship and flipping hilarious! And while The Flatshare focuses on Tiffy’s love life, there are other themes including stalking, gaslighting, and spying from ex partners, that gave the story so much substance.
Similarly, Leon’s aim to get his brother out of jail and unbreakable belief that he is innocent gives a glimpse into how messed up the judicial system can be if you’re at wrong place at the wrong time.Throughout the story, Leary also explores the after effects of stalking and emotional abuse from an ex in Tiffy’s case where her ex literally goes to extremes to force himself on her emotionally.
It was quite terrifying to read about honestly, because emotional abuse and being gaslighted from a partner is a very real and common thing in our world. But luckily, she had great friends in the form of Gerty, Mo and Rachel that stood by her, even when Tiffy made wrong choices and wouldn’t listen to them.
I loved the “Good Cop/Bad Cop” dynamic between Gerty and Mo, and really feel we all should have such friends in our life. There wasn’t a single bad thing about The Flatshare, even though I went with a very skeptical mind that was ready to make note of any stereotype or commercial troupe that is common in this genre.
I really want every girl and boy to read The Flatshare especially in these mentally exhausting times where we are looking for things to go back to “normal”. That isn’t happening any time soon but you can read this book and for a few hours feel good and laugh at the two characters while they figure out their life.
The Flatshare is the perfect book for anyone looking for a literary escape and just a time out from the world. I really hope this book gets adapted into a movie, I can already see Emelia Clarke playing Tiffy, she could be the perfect Tiffy in my opinion.
But for now, do yourself a favor and read the book for a good few giggles! The Flatshare is waiting!
Onto the basics:
- Rating: 5.0/5.0
- Favorite Quote: “Remind myself that there is no saving of people —people can only save themselves. The best you can do is help when they’re ready.”
- Should you read it: if you’re looking for a light, warm, and comforting read, then a big resounding YES! And if you’re not, then you still should pick it up!
- Reader Level: Fairly easy, there are a few British nuances, that I’m sure can be picked up on. Also, the British humor is on point and I personally really like it.
- Would I read it again: obviously!! I can’t wait to buy the paperback and re-read it again!