When death surrounds you every day, you need to find something to live for.
Something to Live For by Richard Roper, previously titled How Not To Die Alone, is an incredible story about someone with nothing to lose finding a reason to live.
Title: Something to Live For by Richard Roper, previously titled How Not To Die Alone
Lenght: 352 pages
Publication Date: G.P. Putnam’s Sons (July 28, 2020)
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.
From the Publisher’s Blurb
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Andrew worked for the London authority responsible for ‘Section 46’, a public health statute that determined the disposal by burial or cremation of persons who died without relatives or means.
His job consisted of visiting the houses of people recently deceased in search of documents that might lead to family members, or money to pay for the burial expenses.
These people died alone, some were not found for months. The houses smelled of death and decay, and facing this reality was a harsh reminder of how fragile life is and how things can change in a heartbeat.
It was worse for Andrew, who lived alone himself, having only his model trains as companions.
The story is so engaging and well-written. I love the way the author expressed Andrew’s internal turmoils. In one passage, he feels like “a trapdoor had opened above his head, and Polaroids were cascading down on him.”
I felt a deep connection to Andrew. He seemed so real to me. I felt his tension entering the houses, his insecurities, I could almost feel the unbearable odors.
Andrew is a very complex character. He is so broken inside, and yet so sweet and caring. One cannot but like and root for his happiness.
The side characters are gold: the neurotic boss, the egocentric co-workers, and the lovely and funny Peggy.
The dialogues are fun and witty, which is a most welcome diversion from the dreadness of Andrew’s work and the reality of what dying (and living) completely alone entails.
The narrative is well-woven and, although I was not completely clueless, I was pleasantly surprised by how it all ended.
This book makes one think about life, priorities, and how vital those grudges we hold to really are.
Great read! Highly recommended.
Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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About the Author
Richard Roper is an author and editor. He grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon and now live in London. Something To Live For (previously published as How Not To Die Alone in hardback the US), is his first novel