“The next thing I notice is the sheer quantity of crap in my living room…It’s like a terrible episode of Changing Rooms. Flat has been redecorated to look immeasurably worse. Can only conclude that she was doing it on purpose – nobody could be this tasteless accidentally.”
Why Did I Read This Book?
Having joined the Bookstagram community only recently, I have joined many online book clubs to get a feel for what’s out there and what people are reading. One of my favourite book clubs is Beth’s Book Club which you can find on Facebook and Instagram (just search for @bethsbookclub_) and they read one modern book a month and get together for scheduled monthly meetings so everyone can discuss what they thought. The March book was The Flatshare and after reading and hearing everyone’s praises, I thought I’d give it a go!
What Did I Think?
OK, I L-O-V-E-D this book! I’ve not read a romance novel in a long time and I have to say they aren’t usually my go-to but I have to admit I do enjoy a good romance here and there. And with the current lockdown separating me from my beloved boyfriend, I’m in need of some romance in my life.
The short, quick chapters are great and I think that’s why I was able to polish off this book in under two days. I would find myself reading a chapter here and there whilst going about my daily quarantine business. Before you know it you’re halfway through and we all love a good book like that don’t we? It does become quite difficult though when you know the chapters are short so you tell yourself ‘oh, just one more chapter’…and 30 minutes later you’re still sitting in the same place. Guilty AF.
I loved how the narrative of Tiffy compared to Leon’s was so different because you can tell immediately who is narrating. The chapters alternate between the two, helping the story to really advance and provide a great sense of how each character lives and thinks. Tiffy is such a quirky character compared to Leon who is often considered to be a man of few words, and I love how that as the book progresses, Leon seems to come more and more out of his shell. I felt a strong connection to Tiffy, with her clumsiness and awkwardness and also because she perhaps reminded me of my time at Cath Kidston, where like her, I was constantly up to my neck in crafts I didn’t have a clue about.
One of the things that most people disliked about this book is that they found it too hard to believe that people would flatshare (and bed share). This was one of the things discussed with the author when Beth from Beth’s Book Club held a live discussion with her and it was so amazing to find out that people had contacted the author to tell her their stories of when they had done the same thing as Tiffy and Leon. I suppose in big cities like London etc, room is scarce so people have to find what accomodation they can afford.
As Leon and Tiffy hardly ever cross paths, they leave Post-It notes to communicate with each other and this is also something that the author relies on to help provide us with vital information about events that have happened and to move the story along. I adore this idea and I got waaaay to excited the first time that Leon puts a ‘x’ at the end of one of his notes. Can you tell I’m missing my boyfriend?
“It was a weird way to get to know Leon, writing all these notes over the last few months, and it sort of happened without me noticing – one minute I was scribbling him a quick note about leftovers, the next I was in a full-on, day-to-day correspondence.”
What is really touching is Tiffy’s discovery of learning that she was emotionally abused by her ex boyfriend and I loved Beth O’Leary’s way of letting her slowly discover that what she went through during her relationship with Justin was not a normal, loving relationship. We realise from that start that the way Justin behaved and made her feel was completely wrong but we have to let Tiffy come to that realisation herself. I think the journey that Tiffy goes through is both heartbreaking and honest and because it was written by someone who had gone through the same thing, you can really feel how genuine Tiffy’s thoughts and feelings are.
“Remind myself that there is no saving people—people can only save themselves. The best you can do is help when they’re ready.”
I definitely enjoyed this book and I can easily see it becoming a rom-com in the not so distant future. Although it may seem unrealistic, I didn’t personally find it impossible for something like that to happen so I instantly fell in love with Tiffy and Leon. I got a (maybe too real) ‘missing’ feeling a few days after finishing the book and it’s safe to say I can’t wait to read her new novel The Switch which is out soon! Not bad for a book that was written whilst commuting ey?