The Flatshare : Book Review

Untitled drawing (14)
The Flatshare
by Beth O’Leary
★★✰✰✰ 2 stars

One of the reasons why I was never able to immerse myself in this story is because of its writing style. While Tiffy’s chapter are written in a normal straight-forward prose, Leon’s chapters sounded like they were written by Yoda.
Because of this ‘stylistic’ writing choice Leon sounds at best like a confused child, at worst…drunk. He is presented to us as if he is this serious and smart guy but because of his weird narration he just seems so young and simple. The way he phrases things, all of those missing pronouns, chopped sentences…they make him sound like he has taken too much Ambien.
At the beginning he also had a tendency to refer to Tiffy as the ‘Essex woman’ which just made him seem all the more slow (as if he can’t be asked to remember her name).
A few examples taken from his pov:
“And no note, either. Feel like a fool. I’ve missed the chance to say thank you; probably upset her, too. Don’t like that thought.”
“The pause is like silence after gunshot. I slap hand to mouth.”

Apparently he also writes in this silly way since Tiffy wonders “if Leon will talk the way he writes, all short sentences and no pronouns”. I wish that Leon’s oddly phrased things had been restricted to his post-its rather than making his whole point of view seem so grammatically odd.
Tiffy’s chapter were far more accomplished. I really wish it had been all from her point of view. Leon would have seemed more credible. Tiffy had a potentially interesting storyline but she came across as yet another manic pixie dream girl.
A lot of dialogues had a hit or miss humour. Many of the jokes seemed forced. Most of the characters didn’t sound like real people…especially the elderly (there was an inconstancy in the sort of language they used).
The story was a bit boring, and fairly predictable. This genre is fairly formulaic and what makes or breaks the story is its characters. Sadly, thanks to this jarring writing style, I never felt connected to Leon or his relationship with Tiffy.
Also, Tiffy is this supposedly tall and big-boned woman, and there I was thinking ‘finally, how refreshing, she isn’t the typical petite and lithe girl’ but Leon (who is a nurse and spends a lot of the time moving but he isn’t really buff or muscular) is able to lift her and carry her in his arms?! Why include that over-used scene?!
Final thoughts: Other than a few amusing moments this novel has little to offer…

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An English Literature graduate, currently completing a masters in Comparative Literature. Born in Rome, raised near Venice, currently in the UK. Queer (in both senses of the word).

2 thoughts on “The Flatshare : Book Review”

  1. I liked this novel a lot but I can understand your issues with it. For me, it was a light read with an unusual romance concept, if rather unbelievable. I think Leon’s style seemed like a diary. Maybe the author was trying a bit too hard to make their voices distinct from each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked it! I would have enjoyed a lot more if Leon’s chapters had been cut out…they really ‘pulled’ me out of the story.

      Liked by 1 person

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