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*Please note – this book is titled Something to Live For in the UK and possibly other countries.
How Not to Die Alone’s Back-of-Book Description
Smart, darkly funny, and life-affirming, How Not to Die Alone is the bighearted debut novel we all need, for fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, it’s a story about love, loneliness, and the importance of taking a chance when we feel we have the most to lose.
“Off-beat and winning…Gives resiliency and the triumph of the human spirit a good name.” —The Wall Street Journal
All Andrew wants is to be normal. That’s why his coworkers believe he has the perfect wife and two children waiting at home for him after a long day. But the truth is, his life isn’t exactly as people think . . . and his little white lie is about to catch up with him. Because in all of Andrew’s efforts to fit in, he’s forgotten one important thing: how to really live. And maybe, it’s finally time for him to start.
“Roper illuminates Andrew’s interior life to reveal not what an odd duck he is, but what odd ducks we all are.” —The New York Times Book Review
I got this book over a year ago in a Book of The Month box. I figured it would be a quirky, dark comedy that would speak to me (I have a real appreciation for weird, dark indie movies after all). But over the last year, each time I looked for a book to read it never called to me.
Until now… when apparently the world is in just enough chaos to remind me that there’s nothing like darkly witty dramas to lift my spirits.
How Not to Die Alone is a British novel, so you know…Americans need to be ready for strange words and slightly different cultural norms. While I personally enjoy reading books by foreign writers, I know that sometimes they take some getting used to.
But lucky for me – I dove right in and let the British wash over me. The writing was honestly really lovely. This was the author’s debut novel and, in my opinion, he crushed it.
His introduction to the main character was such that I was immediately on this guy’s side. Granted there were moments that I thought he could easily get out of his predicament, as least with one of the other characters. But by the end, you were sympathetic to how it spiraled out of control. I felt his pain and his frustration and kept rooting for things to work out.
All the other characters had nice backgrounds and seemed well rounded. Several of them had some interesting character arcs of their own which made the world feel whole.
The setting descriptions were great, too. I had no trouble picturing it all – even the strangeness of the main character’s job and where he often found himself.
Speaking of his job and where he finds himself – it’s worth noting that there may be a bit of a trigger in How Not to Die Alone. There is a lot of death discussed and funerals attended. This is because of the nature of the job in which these people work; they inspect the properties of people who have died, seemingly without any family.
But while there are several scenarios for the reader to feel sad or off-put, more often than not the writing makes you appreciate the beauty of being alive.
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Favorite Quotes From How Not to Die Alone
“Maybe there’d be some catastrophic world event in the next few days, a lovely old nuclear war to make them all forget about this stupid idea.”
“There was nobody for him to share the story with. No one to help him laugh his way through it. Loneliness, however, was ever vigilant, always there to slow-clap his every stumble.”
“It’s complicated…People think loss is the same for everyone, but it’s different in every case, you know?”
“A lie can only exist in opposition to the truth, and the truth was the only thing that could free him of his pain.”
“It was just him and his own thoughts, and he hated his own thoughts; they were largely bastards.”
“He stayed there, quiet now, feeling a pure and strangely joyful pain wash over him, knowing that as much as it hurt, it was something he had to accept, a winter before the spring, letting its ice freeze and fracture his heart before it could heal.”
How Not to Die Alone gets 4.5 stars from me! I loved it. It might have been kinda slow to get into, and if I’d had a show or something I was watching it maybe would have taken me a while, but such was not the case. I finished it in under a week, not even wanting to find a show! The writing was beautiful, and the dark, witty humor was perfect. Some of those quotes are funny, some are sad… it hits all the emotions!
I would definitely recommend this to anyone, really, but especially to those who like dramatic fiction about life, love, and loss. For people feeling a bit down lately, this might be a nice book to remind them that things could be worse and/or that things will probably get better.
*Note – After writing this I found out that this book is titled Something to Live For in the UK and possibly other countries.
Thank you for taking the time to check out my review of How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper! Feel free to share it with your fellow readers and if you like any of the quotes, the ones below are ‘Pin-able’.
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