BOOK REVIEWS

Just Enough by Flavia Biondi — review

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Many thanks to NetGalley for providing me with the chance to read this stunning work.

Although I’m Italian, before coming across Just Enough on NetGalley, I’d never heard of Flavia Biondi. As soon as I saw her artwork I fell in love.
I can best describe this as a ‘slice of life’ that depicts the ‘what now?’ that might come at the end of your twenties, when you feel the pressure to ‘settle down’ or start a ‘real’ career and become a ‘real’ adult. I liked the realistic dynamics between the various characters, the way their silly conversations could turn serious—and vice versa—and the imperfect and down-to-earth portrayal of love (romantic and platonic). The story captures the dissolution felt by Italy’s younger generations yet there is a sense of hope for happier—or more ‘stable—times that made this into an easy read. The artwork and writing perfectly convey the nostalgic atmosphere of the story. I thoroughly loved this graphic novel and I am already looking forward to reading in again and again and again.

My rating: ★★★★✰ 4.5 stars (rounded up to 5)

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BOOK REVIEWS

The Flatshare : Book Review

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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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