It’s been a time of uncertainty, of worry, and, yes, of panic inducing stress. Between coping with the reality of the situation and the unexpected shift in both routine and expectations, I skipped something that was otherwise a standard part of my day. Reading.
I don’t think I have ever gone to sleep at the end of the day without reading at the very least a page or two of a book, any book really. A normal day entailed at least a chapter if not more. However, in the last few weeks I have done very little reading. The little I did manage was also mostly re-reading old favourites or what I call comfort reading. Like Z snuggling her squishy unicorn, who is inexplicably named Sweetheart Valentine. She truly is a romance author’s daughter.
I finally decided to break my reading slump with a book I’d been hearing wonderful things about but hadn’t gotten around to reading as yet – The Flat Share by Beth O’ Leary. It was quite possibly one of the best decisions I’ve taken in a while. If you’re looking for a feel good, comfort read, don’t look beyond this book.
“Tiffy and Leon share a bed. Tiffy and Leon have never met.”
The tag line on the cover is enough to hook you and reel you in. Tiffy and Leon are real, relatable people struggling with serious issues. A palliative nurse, Leon works mostly night shifts. In urgent need of money for one of the previously mentioned serious issues (not specifying what so this stays spoiler free), Leon agrees to rent out his flat for the night. Tiffy, who is in the midst of a break up and is also extremely cash strapped jumps at the opportunity to have a place to live, especially at such a low rent. The rent is low because she only has it for the night and weekends.
Tiffy and Leon don’t meet until more than half the book is over. Their friendship and meet cute is conducted almost entirely through post it notes and text messages. It’s quaint, adorable and so brilliant in the way it brings out their personalities and highlights their differences.
This book reminded me what good writing can do. Warm you, comfort you, elevate you and most importantly, remind you of the good in the world. And there is good. Maybe a little hidden, a little delayed, a little distant…but the good will find you. The ‘after’ will come and this too, will pass.