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Roommates Wanted: A Novel Paperback – March 11, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Jewell's boisterous sixth novel is a compulsively readable jaunt through the lives of a handful of suburban London misfits. Leah, a shopgirl whose live-in boyfriend flees when she mentions marriage, lives across the street from Toby, a struggling poet who lets out rooms in his bedraggled Victorian house to ragtag tenants who pay rent when they remember and clutter up his otherwise solitary life. There's a cabaret singer who depends on sugar daddies to keep afloat; a mailroom clerk who shares a room with his mother; and a stylish recluse. And then there's longtime tenant Gus, whom Leah finds dead on the front walk one day. When Toby discovers that Gus has willed him a sickly cat and a pile of pounds with the provision that Toby use the money to make his life everything it could be, it provides the impetus for a shakeup at Toby's that sends the cast in different directions as they each find ways to grow up. Jewell (Vince and Joy) has a sure hand with the lightly humorous and romantic, and she delivers the goods: an eccentric cast, lively banter and plenty of warmhearted cheer. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Leah lives across the street from a ramshackle Victorian mansion called the Peacock House, and the only thing odder than the house itself is the people who live in it. For years she’s been curious about her neighbors but too polite to do anything but watch them come and go. When an accident happens right on their doorstep, however, Leah is finally introduced to the members of Peacock House, including Toby, the landlord. Toby took on his curious tenants out of empathy, but now that he’s nearly 40 he realizes he’s stagnated and needs a change—starting with his house. As Leah slowly becomes involved with Toby and the house, Toby takes it on himself to learn more about his tenants, why they’re there, and where they’re going, and this inquiry includes himself. Leah and Toby’s quiet relationship is touching and believable; the tenants are eccentric, but behind their quirks stand very real characters with emotional depth. A truly satisfying read that’s sincere without being sugary. --Hilary Hatton
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Top customer reviews
However, I enjoyed the book and I really loved that giant house. I especially liked Toby and Con. I did think there were a bit too many characters and too many different things going on, so everything seemed to wrap up really quickly and a bit too tidily. I think it would've been better to cut out a character or subplot or two, and then to better develop the remaining characters and plot points. I liked the book, but something like that might have allowed me to give the book 4 stars instead of 3.
When one of Toby's residents dies, he is left with a bundle of cash. He then receives a letter from his father wondering if his disappointing son had ever done anything with his life and what became of the house that he had purchased so long ago. This is a turning point in Toby's life and he decides to evaluate his life.
He meets the girl from across the way and with her help Toby decides to take on his house. He makes some goals for his life, one being to sell his house. There's a major obstacle however, what to do with all the people who are content to live off of Toby forever.
The characters in this story are absolutely intriguing and each very different.
If you like reading books by Jill Mansell, Katie Fforde, Sophie Kinsella I believe you will enjoy this.
Toby Dobbs, after receiving an old Victorian from his father, and being left by his wife three weeks later, decides to place an ad for roommates. Fifteen years later, although never alone, he finds himself with a full house and still lonely. After a chance meeting with the woman across the street, Leah Pilgrim, Toby finds himself wanting to be more than a brooding poet; he wants to live. Together, they work on fixing the misfit slackers problems and aid them in growing up, so he, too, can do the same.
However, this daunting task proves to be no easy feat. Con, still just a boy himself, finds he is falling in love with a co-worker who is vastly ill, and making it difficult to fulfill his plans to save enough money for pilot school. Melinda, Con's mother, is bound and determined to remain with her son at all costs, in an attempt to make up for deserting him as a child. Ruby, who was never forced in to the workforce, continues to live off of her many men while dreaming of becoming a singer/songwriter. And Joanne, who changes in to a different person everyday, is as secretive as she is elusive.
Roommates Wanted is a true icon in this genre! It stands apart from everything else. It will take you on a ride filled with love, grief, and humor like nothing you've read. Lisa Jewell's clever and witty dialog will, at times, literally, having you laughing out loud. Don't read this in a library. The characters are charming and believable, even when you want to slap them senseless. You almost forget they're not real. The plot flowed exceedingly well and, even with all the characters, it was not hard to follow in any form. The back stories, plot, characters, dialog; it all wraps itself together in a package you won't soon forget. And, in a way, makes a very sound argument between the fantasy of youth, and the practicality of adulthood. It is a book mixed with real life and dreams that mix so smoothly together you can't put it down. This should, most definitely, be made into a movie. Right on, Lisa Jewell! Or, rather, write on!
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