“Sometimes it feels easier to just be the way I was before you. Safer. But…look what you’ve been able to do. How brave you’ve been. And that’s how I want to be.”
Ok, so I never really learn my lesson with the hype. I get caught up in it; sue me. I heard about this book and it’s ridiculous premise and I figured I would not like it (I was right). Howeverrrrr, I heard a lot of people loved it and then it was available at my library and I was curious ok?!? I wanted to see if I’d like it (I didn’t). 2.5 stars.
So, to be fair, not everyone loved this book. There were quite a few people that didn’t like the writing style and I can see why. The book follows the perspectives of both our main characters, Tiffy and Leon. A lot of readers complained that Leon’s voice was hard to read because it was written very distant and clinical at first. I think this was to portray his social awkwardness and, some readers said, his Asperger’s (unconfirmed in the book). However, I didn’t think his perspective sounded that unattached or stoic. It was clearly written to differentiate from Tiffy’s wordy, hyper, manic monologues, but other than that, it seemed normal. Leon didn’t even strike me as a character on the spectrum so if that is how he was written, then I’ll just take the author’s word for it.
This story wasn’t working for me from the start. I didn’t love the writing – it was ok, just not great. I didn’t like the characters much at all (Tiffy was soooo overdone and irritating). But mostly, I just COULD NOT get on board with the plot here. It was so ridiculous! Bordering on stupid, if you don’t mind me being harsh. I’m sorry, but who in their right mind would decide to share, not only a one bedroom apartment with a man they’ve never met, but also his bed????? The author was banking on some serious suspension of disbelief here, because that’s absurd. And coming from a woman who has experienced intense emotional and psychological abuse from a man in her most recent past relationship??? There is no fucking way. Like it was just so weird.
From there, I just wasn’t invested in the story at all. There was a lot of focus on Tiffy’s ex boyfriend and how he mentally abused her throughout the course of their relationship. He continued to harass her and stalk her as the novel went on. This was tough, because on one hand I did really appreciate the conversation regarding abuse and how Tiffy suppressed the bad memories with her ex and focused on the good. It is so common for women who have been traumatized like that to ignore/overlook the reasons they have to feel that way. I found it very realistic that Tiffy focused only on the happy memories and had PTSD flashbacks to bring out the bad ones. I liked how gaslighting was explained so well and given the weight that it deserves. It is truly so damaging to someone and has serious, lasting effects, so I appreciated that. That journey was well done. However, the ex continuing to stalk her and the way Leon then became involved was pretty embellished. I just didn’t see why the behavior of the ex had to be so dramatic and far-fetched. Wouldn’t it be bad enough with the abuse he had already subjected her to? There was no need for such grandiose gestures to trick her and try to win her back. And Leon getting all bent out of shape and possessive about it was not a good look.
Leon’s perspective, alternatively, focused on getting his brother out of jail. His brother was falsely imprisoned and Leon has basically put his life on hold to clear his name. This was mildly interesting, but ultimately, I didn’t care all that much. His brother was definitely more fun to read about though. I found Leon boring and vaguely creepy. Tiffy was super annoying and omg SO quirky 🤪. Her style and messiness and silly niche job and being so tallll – bleh. They just were not very authentic characters and seemed like characters just built around whatever traits the author felt like incorporating into the story. The side characters were ok, but still not super fleshed out.
I am aware that some people love this book, but it was clearly not for me. I didn’t vibe with it at all and found the entire concept rather ridiculous. It was pointless for me to read, unfortunately. I also didn’t love the writing, so I don’t really think I will be giving this author another try. Her other stories seem like they will be similar to this one.
What did you guys think?? Do you fall into the love it or hate it category?
Thank you for reading!
Title: The Flatshare
Author: Beth O’Leary
Genre: Romance | Adult | Contemporary | Chick Lit |Women’s Fiction | British Fiction
Publication Date: April 18th, 2019
Page Count: 400 pages
Buy It: Wordery | Book Depository