A balanced dose of cute, sweet and… heavy topics
“I’m not a fan of those Myer-Briggs type things that tell you your personality type, like horoscopes for business people.
Who should read it? Those who enjoy a cosy feel-good story but don’t shy away from heavy themes
Would I recommend it? Generally yes!
It was so difficult to rate this book, because, on one hand, it was not love at first sight, and it took me a while to go through some pages. On the other hand, this was the perfect feel-good, heart-warming read that leaves you satisfied by the end. Hard to explain, but even the predictable and convenient bits fit nicely into the narrative.
Considering the kind-of-silly premise (sharing the same bed but at different times?), I was probably expecting something a bit lighter. Despite being cute and sweet, this book ended up covering some quite heavy topics, which I was not prepared for.
TW: Abuse – emotional abuse, sexual abuse, gaslighting.
So here are some things I LOVED about the book:
Tiffy, for me, was honestly a great and realistic character. I was shocked to read some people thought Tiffy was “weak”, as that’s, unfortunately, a huge misconception when it comes to abuse. After having experienced it and had close ones experience it as well, it cannot be more false to think you only “fall for it” if you’re weak or not strong enough. Tiffy’s behaviour was the result of years of emotional abuse! Yes, it’s frustrating, and you can see it from their friends’ perspective as well: supporting someone that just can’t make the decision that everyone else knows it’s the right one, and still remaining by their side no matter what. I think the book did beautifully in this regard.
🧡 Dual POV
It was quite interesting to alternate between Tiffy and Leon’s perspectives as the events unfolded. Leon’s voice is unique compared to Tiffy’s, and there’s no doubt you’re reading a Leon’s chapter even if you come back to it later. Apart from a tiny detail that I wasn’t a fan of (explained below), Leon felt quite realistic and faithful to how the character was described throughout the book.
Despite the heavy themes, the story knows how to give a feel-good vibe to the sentiment of the narrative. It’s almost impossible to not smile when good things happen to some characters that definitely deserve the good luck they’ve been denied for so long.
There were things I didn’t like as much:
🌧️ Stylistic / text formatting (Leon’s chapters)
I understand we enter into a different POV and the character’s voice needs to be unique, but I didn’t understand why the formatting needed to be different. The dialogue ended up being difficult to read, because of the way it was formatted. To give you a couple of examples:
Me: So what was after seances? Tiffy thinks about it. (...) Me: Sorry! Sorry! Tiffy, confused: Did you try and pull the duvet off me?
This was the main issue I had with this book. As you can see, not only the dialogue is formatted in a weird way, even if it comes from Leon’s POV, but it also seems Leon can guess what’s in Tiffy’s head. She’s “confused”, she’s “thinking about it”, amongst many other things. Head-hopping with a first-person POV is extremely uncommon, and this was definitely a turn off for me.
🌧️ Cute? Yes. Funny? Not really.
This is absolutely personal because I enjoy a bit of comedy and light-hearted scenes in my romance books, so I didn’t think it deserved a worse rating because of this. Still, when I see this book cover type, I’m automatically expecting something like that, and as I mentioned, this book was quite heavy due to the topics it dealt with. Yes, it’s cute and it has some nice cheesy moments, but don’t expect it to be funny.
🌧️ Extremely “convenient”
To avoid spoilers, let’s just say some of the plot and characters in the book are there for convenience sake, which again, should be okay for the type of premise and vibe I had initially expected. But for the realistic route the author ended up going for, some parts felt perhaps a bit too convenient and didn’t match the seriousness of it all. This made me have some mixed feelings overall.
Overall I quite enjoyed reading The Flatshare. It had some cute and heartwarming moments that made me smile a lot. Wished Leon’s POV was written differently but a great read nonetheless.