“These people. There’s such a fierceness to them, such a lovingness. When I got here, I thought their lives were small and silly, but I was wrong. They’re some of the biggest people I know.”
Adorable, charming read.
I confess that when I saw all the raving reviews for The Flatshare (that I still must and will read) I knew that I had to try Beth O’Leary’s new novel : The Switch.
The blurb was also what drew me in with the “live my life “ concept when Leena swaps her London life with her grand-mother Eileen who lives in a small village in Yorkshire.
These swapping lives usually make for humorous situations as we realize that the other’s life is not always as simple and easy as we imagined. And of course, that’s what will happen here!
If I had to use a few words to describe this story, I’d use:
-British. Not only because it’s happening in England but because Beth’s writing feels British to me. The characters have bashfulness and modesty that I found so often when I visited England. You also have all the local “terminologies” and expressions that made me feel, well, in England!
–Quaint and colorful. This book is filled with many side characters who nearly feel like main characters. Beth O’Leary really took the time and care to make them shine and feel alive, with their quirks and flaws. Their mannerism, their likes and dislikes. Most are elderly people and we discover an array of authentic men and women.
–Charming and adorable. Because that’s how many of these characters were, even If some were grumpier than others. Eileen was the prime example of the charming yet determined and energetic grand-mother! Fitz with his odd socks but amiable personality, etc……
–Loneliness. This story broaches the topic of loneliness among elderly people. Living in a village or in a big town, if you live on your own, can be quite sad and isolating.
–Funny! There is so much humor in this book. From situation like Eileen making her list with comments to select a fitting gentleman to being walked by a dog going through seeing penises everywhere, in tea leaves included! That scene with the d!ck pick had me laughing so hard!!!
Imagine, we are talking about Eileen, 80 years old and Leena’s grand mother:
“Oooh. Well that’s a landmark moment for you right there. Your first d!ck pic!”
“My first what?”
She makes a face. “Wow this is worse than telling my daughter where babies come from” (…) I tilt my head. “Gosh” I say.
“Looking pretty spritely for a man of eighty.”(…)
“Does that ever work?” “Maybe it’s like flashers in the park, it’s not whether you like it-they just like showing their todgers.”
–Grief and journey : all these women are hurting after a loss months ago. Every one of them, Leena’s mom included will cope in her own way. This mourning time has been smartly written as there are many ways to grieve. It’s a real journey and it was moving to walk alongside these characters.
I don’t know if the Flatshare gave the same “vibe” as some who have read it are a little bit surprised by the Switch but I know that Beth O’Leary is now on my “once click” list of authors! I got a similar vibe when I read Marian Keyes, Jane Green and the likes. Loved it!
Have you read this one? Or the Flatshare?
Thanks for reading!