Synopsis from Penguin Random House:
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.
Andrew’s been feeling stuck.
For years he’s worked a thankless public health job, searching for the next of kin of those who die alone. Luckily, he goes home to a loving family every night. At least, that’s what his coworkers believe.
Then he meets Peggy.
A misunderstanding has left Andrew trapped in his own white lie and his lonely apartment. When new employee Peggy breezes into the office like a breath of fresh air, she makes Andrew feel truly alive for the first time in decades.
Could there be more to life than this?
But telling Peggy the truth could mean losing everything. For twenty years, Andrew has worked to keep his heart safe, forgetting one important thing: how to live. Maybe it’s time for him to start.
About: How Not to Die Alone is a contemporary fiction written by Richard Roper. It will be published on 5/28/2019 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House, paperback, 324 pages. The genres are fiction and contemporary. This book is the author’s debut. According to the publisher’s website, “For more than two decades, G.P. Putnam’s Sons has led the publishing industry with more hardcover New York Times bestsellers than any other imprint. With its rich history of publishing established franchises and new talent, as well as award winners, with an unrivaled bestselling track record, Putnam continues to be one of the most respected and prestigious imprints in the industry.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading How Not to Die Alone on 5/8/2019 and finished it on 5/10/2019. This story being particularly depressing, but I have to admit that I enjoyed reading it. It’s different. I have never thought about those people who live alone and die alone before. I’m aware of people who live through life that either don’t get married or don’t have children and outlived their spouses but I always thought they may have cousins or live in nursing homes with caretakers. Andrew’s job is interesting, though it’s one job I can never ever perform. I like being educated about this area of death and it opens my eyes to know that any job is possible and death can go undiscovered for so long if one lead such a lonely life.
This book is told in the third person point of view following Andrew, 42, an employee at the Death Administration department of public health. His job is to find families (next of kin) and to inspect the houses of those who dies alone to find assets to cover their own funeral costs. Andrew’s co-workers think that he has a lawyer wife and two kids when he actually comes home from work to an empty house. A mistake made during an interview 5 years ago became a full blown lie. Andrew is a loner who likes to play with model trains and his only best friends are three other model trains enthusiasts on the internet forum. His childhood was particularly depressing where his dad died when he was 3, his mom became withdrawn, his older sister bullied and abandoned him, and finally a secret that left him withdrawn into himself. No one had ever come close to being friends with Andrew until a new employee Peggy joined his department. She shadow him and go with him to inspect houses and attend funerals. They got along well and he even comes out of his shell for her, doing something he normally wouldn’t do like drinking beer on Wednesday, shopping for new clothes, etc.
How Not to Die Alone is very well written and offer a unique topic to think about. Andrew’s life is a bit depressing as well as the topic of the story. He grows up inside a bubble of comfort where he doesn’t socialize and anything outside of his comfort zone scares him. His childhood is a sad one and it explains why his adulthood is no better. I feel so happy when he finally made a friend and he started to develop more feelings than just his mundane days. There were some suspense moments that I thought he would give in to being bullied by his brother-in-law. The people he works with are something else. I like Peggy and her humor. I like the happy ending. I highly recommend everyone to read this book!
Pro: lonely deaths, odd job, comfort zones, friendship, cover, humor
I rate it 5 stars!
About the Author:
Richard Roper is a non-fiction editor at Headline, where he works with authors such as James Acaster, Joel Dommett, Andrew O’Neill, and Frank Turner. How Not to Die Alone is inspired by an article he read about people whose job it is to follow up after people die alone. It is his debut novel. (Photo and info obtained from Penguin’s website).
More Information about G.P. Putnam’s Sons
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***Disclaimer: I won a copy this book via Goodreads giveaway. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.