Title: The Flatshare
Author: Beth O’Leary
Publication Date: April 10th 2019
ADD TO GOODREADS
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’ve been using audiobooks a lot to read this year and at the beginning of lockdown, I kept seeing Beth O’Leary’s name pop up everywhere! So I finally decided to read The Flatshare after seeing it on so many people’s reading lists.
The Flatshare is about Tiffy and Leon who share a bed in an apartment at different times of the day. They’re roommates but don’t actually see each other at the same time due to the nature of their jobs. They communicate via Post-It notes that they leave around the flat and their relationship escalates from there.
What made me appreciate O’Leary’s craft were the subplots of this book. We see Tiffy unpacking the moments of her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Justin, who gaslit and emotionally abused her. With that, she starts realising her worth and that she deserves to be treated way better. Leon’s reason for advertising the flatshare arrangement was all for his brother, Richie, who was framed for an armed robbery. He needed money to pay for a lawyer in order to secure a court hearing. It’s obvious that Richie is innocent, however, the people who were working on this case were incompetent. O’Leary really hits a nerve with this subplot when showing how the justice system’s failed Richie.
I feel like me liking the subplots more than the main plot was quite a disadvantage to the story. Although Tiffy and Leon’s relationship is cute, I feel like O’Leary could’ve given more of it. Their relationship development was likeable, but most of the time, I was interested in the sub-plots.
O’Leary writes such charismatic characters but can really make you genuinely despise other characters too.
Tiffy’s friends, Gerty and Mo are so likeable and sweet. They help Tiffy with realising that Justin was toxic without making her feel stupid for always going back to him. I’m not sure how common it is but there’s definitely cases in which family and friends get “bored” or “fed up” with the victim of a toxic relationship for not leaving. Gerty and Mo don’t give off this energy, they tell Tiffy how it is bluntly but also with compassion.
Of course, I hated Justin, as anyone who has read the book would. But Leon’s girlfriend, Kay, is a character that really grinds my gears. She’s the type of girlfriend who’s extremely entitled and likes to control aspects of other people’s lives. I knew I wouldn’t like her from the moment when the flatshare arrangement was being set up. Kay was the person who made herself in charge of the set up which gave me the impression that she didn’t trust Leon at all. There’s one moment in the book where she’s complaining to Leon about the most ridiculous thing regarding his priorities, even though she knew he was trying to get his brother out of jail. It made me physically roll my eyes and kiss my teeth.
The Writing Style
O’Leary’s writing style seems to switch up from time to time. Tiffy’s chapters were written kind of like a diary: easy to follow and expressed her genuine thoughts. I found this more appealing that Leon’s chapters. His chapters sounded very robotic, making it seem like his character was closed off. I found myself wanting his chapters to end quickly because it didn’t seem like his thoughts were authentic. So due to this and me not liking the main plot as much as the subplots, I gave The Flatshare 3 stars.