The Roommate by Caroline Macon Fleischer
It’s a dream come true (especially in this housing market). Donna’s estranged grandmother died and left her a beautiful little house in California, the perfect setting for a new leaf and a new life.
The only problem is that she can’t quite pay the bills alone, and what’s more, she’s feeling a bit lonely since leaving Chicago. A message board posting lands her the perfect roommate. Joshua is pleasant, polite, responsible, and, in fact, someone with all the trappings of a good friend. Maybe that’s why she makes her first stupid mistake of not having him sign an actual contract.
Joshua quickly devolves into the roommate from hell, which we all expect from the back of the book. And still, Donna stumbles her way through a series of terrible decisions, including getting hammered while driving (with a suspended license because of a previous drunk driving stint) and passing out on the side of the road when she decides she’s too drunk to drink and drive effectively. The speed with which this woman goes from insecure but functional to a total dirtbag mess almost makes me sympathize with Joshua, who is supposed to be the bad guy.
Instead of funnelling some money toward an attorney to make up for her initial contract law stupidity, Donna essentially destroys everything she touches while trying to get Joshua out of her house. It’s a disaster and very frustrating to read. Nobody is likeable, none of it is believable, and the writing seemed like it spent too much time on some details and not enough on others.
The first three-quarters or so were very slow moving, then suddenly (and graphically!) sped up before wrapping up with what felt like a “where are they now” segment at a movie’s end.
Great premise but poor execution.
A petty side note: the main character being named Donna made me think this novel was yet another ’90s book.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.