Check It Out: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Mar 2, 2020

This is Kelsey Patterson with the Sioux City Public Library and you’re listening to Check It Out. Today, I’m recommending Beth O’Leary’s debut novel, The Flatshare.

The novel’s inspiration came from the author’s own experiences when her doctor boyfriend was doing long night shifts as part of his training and they could go weeks without seeing each other, but she could track his life by how many cups of coffee were left on the counter, by how much he’d eaten and whether the bookmark in his novel had changed locations. It made her wonder—what could you learn about someone if you lived together but never overlapped?

Tiffy and Leon share an apartment. Tiffy and Leon have never met. After a bad breakup, Tiffy Moore needs a place to live and fast. And cheap. But the apartments in her budget have her wondering if astonishingly colored mold on the walls counts as art. Desperation makes her open minded, so she answers an ad for a flatshare. Leon, a night shift nurse, will take the apartment during the day, and Tiffy can have it nights and weekends. He’ll only ever be there when she’s at the office. In fact, they’ll never even have to meet.

Tiffy and Leon start writing each other notes—first about what day is garbage day, and politely establishing what leftovers are up for grabs, and the ever-pressing question of whether the toilet seat should stay up or down. Even though they are complete opposites, they soon become friends. And then, maybe more. But falling in love with your roommate is probably a terrible idea…especially if you’ve never even met.

As someone who’s read their fair share of romantic comedies, The Flatshare was a breath of fresh air. I loved O’Leary’s interpretation of the genre and her creative take on the question: What if your roommate is your soul mate?

Check out The Flatshare and other debut romantic comedies like it at the Sioux City Public Library.   

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Support for Check It Out comes from Avery Brothers.