The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
Oh, a romance novel, where two people become roommates and fall in love? Oh, so original!
In the spirit of review writing, let us discuss the sluggish steamy scenes and the unpleasant experience that was the plot.
- What did you think of the main characters?
-Tiffy: Tiffany Rose Moore
Eleanor from Elenor & Park meets Jess from New Girl.
Tiffy is a big girl with blue eyes and red hair, and oh so pretty! She is so pretty that there are pages where people are constantly complimenting her.
There is a scene where the whole hospital ward can’t stop commenting about how pretty she is — everyone, from busy nurses to little kids with terminal illnesses. She works in editorial, something to do with crochet books. Her ex-boyfriend of two years left her for another girl, and now she has to become a part of a dodgy living situation that involves sharing a bed with a he-stranger.
Tiffy’s character was annoying and cliche. She was always bubbling with toxic positivity, trying to shove it down your throat with her flowery blouses and flamboyant hats. Listening to Tiffy was like being friends with a narcissist.
Tiffy, you have a job that you love, friends who love you, parents who also love you, you model, go out drinking, go on cruise ships and beach trips where you meet nice ladies that offer you a free stay at their inn, what more could you possibly want? Why are you so whiny all the time?
-Lee: Leon Twomey
A palliative care nurse. You won’t stop hearing about how curly his hair is or how brown his eyes are, or how muscular his body is.
Leon’s character was subpar. However, he was the only character with a pseudo-backstory. We learn about his brother’s current situation, his mom’s past relationships, his war veteran friend, his favourite patient at the ward, his girlfriend Kate, his strange neighbour and the Jhonny White(s) he is looking to find. And although his backstory did little to move the plot along, there is some meaning, some hidden, human affliction in his story, unlike Tiffy’s.
2. What did you think about the plot?
I thought that this book should’ve never made it to publishing. Why, why would any publishing house want to print a story that everyone knows? It was like Beth O’Leary got stoned, watched ‘You’ve Got Mail,’ and wrote ‘The Flatshare.’ She pulled a John Green by trying to incorporate an element of mystery into her book: Let’s go looking for men named Johnny White and reunite him with someone they had a brief romance with during the war.
3. Who would you recommend this book?
No one, I could never ask someone to throw away ten hours and eight minutes of their life, just like that. But if I have to answer this question, I’ll say your average YA reader, who isn’t put off by reading the same story over and over again.
The biggest problem with this book was the author’s ignorance. Let me elaborate: The book did not have any representation. All the characters were your average white, straight, upper-middle-class Londoners. However, there was a brief mention of Dr Patel, who — I’m speculating — was planted in the book strictly for ‘representation’ purposes. For a)there was no need to mention the name of a doctor Tiffy passes in the hallway, and b) the use of ‘Patel’ a cliche Indian Lastname, I am surprised that O’Leary refrained from calling him Dr Koothrappali. There is also a fleeting mention of a same-sex relationship, written in a hushed tone, without ever going into any detail.
Audiobook performance: Carrie Hope Fletcher’s voice got a little high pitched sometimes which I found distracting at times, Kwaku Fortune did a good job