How Not to Die Alone

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 28 May 2019

Member Reviews

Andrew has lived alone for twenty years. His parents are dead, he has limited contact with his sister, and his only means of regular communication is with his online community of fellow train enthusiasts. He spends his work day searching through the houses of the recently deceased for information about the next of kin, If you ask his co-workers at his council job, they would tell you that Andrew is happily married with 2 children and living in a nice house. This is all because of a misunderstanding during his job interview that exploded into a lie he can't get out from under. Andrew likes the fantasy but he has gotten to the point where he cannot maintain it anymore. A new office policy and a burgeoning friendship with Peggy makes Andrew especially motivated to reveal all.
    This was a quirky and endearing read that snuck up on me. It was a little slow to take off but  the introduction of Peggy and more insight into Andrew's motivations quickened the pace.  Who would have thought a book that centered around people who died alone with be so charming and uplifting? I found that Andrew and his job stayed with me after I finished the book; a true sign that a book has a deeper impact than first impression indicates.
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Honestly, I struggled a lot with this book. I didn't feel any connection with the characters and disagree with the way it's being marketed towards readers who enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, as I loved that title and felt a connection with it, but felt nothing for this book. A lot of the passages were funny, but a lot of them seemed like filler and irrelevant. While dark and sometimes funny, the message of human connection being necessary for everyone does shine through.
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I struggled with this book.  I couldn't connect with any of the characters and simply finished so I could move on to the next book.  I found this book to be dark and depressing. The person who comes in as a "real" love interest for Andrew is already married. WHAT?!?!?!  Just not the book for me. 

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me the ARC.
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Thank you to Netgalley and publisher! 

Apologies so long. I was pickpocketed in Paris 

How not to Die alone... title great.  Cover....great.....story overall very good.  

I was a big fan of Elinor and this book was referred as similar and I agree. Both have a .ain't character that lives in pure illusion, socially awkward and offbeat. I felt very comfortable lol 

Naughty Andrew and his small.....HUGE ....lie lol 

I'm definitely going to read this again and will look for the audiobook as well
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How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper was not what I expected. It was so much better. I enjoyed the British humor and the quirky main character.  Having the job of cleaning up after a person passes on and seeing if there is next of kin would sound depressing but it’s inspiring. The character has a secret that weighs heavy on him until he finds the ability to see what’s really important. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Thank you net galley.
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I really enjoyed reading this very interesting and unique book. The story and mystery of Andrew's life was put together very nicely. We were given just enough snippets to keep us hooked. Some of the characters were a little too one dimensional, however the main characters were drawn out very well. Really enjoyable and great read!
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

This novel promised a quirky character that you would grow to love, especially if you are a fan of Eleanor Oliphant and it really delivered on that promise.

Andrew's job consists of going to a home of someone who has recently been deceased and to search for clues of a friendship or next of kin who can foot the bill for their funeral.

To his co-workers, Andrew is living his best life with a successful wife and two children in a beautiful home. What they don't know though is that Andrew fabricated this family during his job interview and has felt compelled to carry on this fictional family.

When Andrew meets Peggy, a new hire that will be helping him handle these cases, he could never imagine how wonderful it is to have a friend in his life. As he grows more and more attracted to her, he realizes how his lies have created an additional hurdle for him to build on this relationship.

This book is certainly a little dark, but I would say that it is dark with a lot of hope. Roper shapes compelling reasons for Andrew's fictional relationships and his own challenges to open up to others. Andrew must acknowledge that if he doesn't branch out more, he could be just like these lonely people that didn't have anyone to love them at the end of their life.

I fell in love with this sweet character as he branches out into the world and learns how beautiful life is when you find friends and someone to love.
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A delightful book. It is reminiscent of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, which works for me since I loved that book. Roper does his best to make his characters seem like full, rich people; unfortunately, he doesn't always succeed. But Andrew is a wonderfully complex character and the eventual revelations about why and how he's designed this insane fantasy life are really moving.
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How Not to Die Alone is a book about a man whose vocation in life is to investigate and find the next-of-kin when lone citizens have died.  Most of these cases is described as a body, gone undiscovered for days/weeks, and likely have no one to attend their funeral.  This is where Andrew comes in as a representative of the Public Health bureau. 

Meanwhile, Andrew has personally engulfed himself in a tiny tale that has consumed his reality.  His boss thinks that he's married with a wife and kids...but alas....Andrew lives alone.   Very alone.  

This book is being compared to the book Eleanor Oliphant is Completely fine, and I can understand why.  Both main characters are living in a fully engulfed illusion, both characters have are socially awkward and have a social circle of exactly zero members, and both characters are moving along their life with an uncertain destination ahead.  

I found this book to be a rather tedious read, and I did not really engage with the character until after I had read over 50% of the book.  Once Andrew's true life scenario began to become complicated with a new coworker and a disgruntled brother-in-law, the conflicts began to arise and the book really began to draw me in.  

Thank you to NetGalley and the G.P. Putman's Sons publishing for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to Penguin Group Putnam for providing me with a copy of Richard Roper’s novel, How Not to Die Alone, in exchange for an honest review.

Andrew has spent years carrying around a big secret. When he was being interviewed for his current job, he accidentally told his would-be boss, that he was married and rather than correcting the mistake, Andrew went on to fabricate a life that includes a wife and two kids. The lie kept growing and now he feels that he has crossed a point of no return. He works for a government agency who handles funerals for people who have died alone and as he investigates these lives, Andrew realizes that he is in a similar position. His parents are dead and he has a rocky relationship with his sister. A series of events, including a new employee named Peggy, threaten to reveal Andrew’s manufactured life.

How Not to Die Alone is a beautiful story that is both deeply affecting and delightful. Andrew has been hit hard by life and he has reached a state of arrested development, living out a middle-aged existence in a tiny, dilapidated apartment that is filled with model trains. His only friends are those whom he communicates with solely through online message boards for model train enthusiasts. Until her untimely death, he has strained, quarterly calls with his sister, Sally. He doesn’t have a lot in common with his coworkers and is dreading the company bonding dinner parties that his boss has recently cooked up. Andrew’s life is lacking, but his imaginary life is stellar.

Andrew spends so much time crafting his imaginary family, that he almost believes that they are real. No one in his office has any reason to doubt their existence. However, when Andrew meets Peggy, he is instantly attracted to her. She’s funny, attractive, and clearly interested in Andrew. Peggy is in the process of separating from her alcoholic husband and although she may soon be available, everyone knows that Andrew is in a very happy marriage. Andrew fears that by revealing the truth, he will lose trust in his coworkers and possibly his job. Yet, if he wants to have a chance with Peggy, he will have to kill-off his imaginary family. Andrew is used to staying in the safety net of his comfort zone and this situation is forcing him to be uncomfortable. Yet, the more he considers his lie, the more he realizes that his comfort zone isn’t very comfortable. He is ready to reveal the truth, but struggling to work up the courage. 

How Not to Die Alone is a story with a lot of compassion. Andrew is a complex character. He constantly lies, yet he has the empathy to attend the funerals of strangers, even when it goes beyond his job description. Roper has structured the story to pack the maximum punch, as we don’t learn the extent of Andrew’s problems until late in the novel. It’s crushing. Roper added a wonderful element of weaving the songs of Ella Fitzgerald into the story. Andrew loves Fitzgerald, but there is one song that he cannot bear to listen to and when we learn the reason why, it is devastating. The musicality works well, adding a theatrical quality to the story. The chapter where Andrew’s big trauma is revealed is very cinematic in the best possible sense. 

A major theme is the consequence of dishonesty; how both being dishonest with others and with yourself, can severely impact your life. The way Andrew lies to himself and makes excuses for the life he lives, is almost worse than the lies that he tells others. Andrew is terrified of relationships, yet when he find the courage to reach out to others, they make him realize that his fear was unwarranted. A particularly lovely part of the story occurs when Andrew dares to meet his online friends in real life and to ask them for a major favor. My ultimate takeaway from How Not to Die Alone, is live boldly.

I highly recommend How Not to Die Alone. It just might end up being my favorite book of 2019. Roper is a marvelous writer and I fell in love with Andrew, rooting for him all the way. This novel gave me the warm-fuzzies.
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How Not To Die Alone is a unique, quirky, sometimes dark but mostly uplifting novel. The story focuses on Andrew a 42-year-old who is a bit of a loner and works for the Ministry of Death. His job entails finding the next of kin for those who die alone (if there is one) and searching their homes for valuable possessions that could help pay for the costs of the funeral. He tends to attend the funerals for these individuals to say goodbye, though not an official part of his job description.  

Andrew’s coworkers believe he has a wife and two children that he goes home to each night; in reality Andrew goes home alone and may spend time online with a small group of friends he has made. It happened innocently enough; a little mistake that turned into something bigger. During his interview he was asked about family and that is when he told the lie that he was married with two children. He meant to correct the misunderstanding, but it complicated quickly. 

Then a new co-worker starts, and he has the potential to have a good friend in Peggy. But can he tell her the truth and risk losing the friendship? Or will he go on with the lie that he has a family? I love the character development of Andrew and Peggy and the development of their friendship. The writing is beautiful, and the story leaves you feeling hopeful. I didn’t want the story to end!

Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Group Putnam for an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Well written and compelling tale.  I may be a bit biased as I'm obsessed with all things London/UK due to an upcoming trip there for the first time.  But I do feel regardless of locale, this is a sweet treat for fans of Eleanor Oliphant. 

I will most likely be buying a copy or two to share with friends. 

I received this copy from Net Galley in return for an honest review.
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I’m a big fan of these charming British character studies about people who are forced to confront their issues and traumas in order to grow and become the best versions of themselves, and this book was no exception. It’s for sure a quieter story with only a few characters and a pretty basic plot, but I became invested in Andrew very quickly and I really responded to his relationship with Peggy. I was nervous about their platonic friendship turning into something more, but I thought the author handled what could have been an icky plot device in a graceful and emotional way. I thought the book really picked up near the end once Andrew’s lies start to unravel, and if I had one issue, it would have been that I would have preferred for this to occur a little sooner. That being said, if you’re a fan of Nick Hornby or books such as #Less or #EleanorOliphant, I think you’ll enjoy this as well.
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Andrew has a dreary and grim job, he works for the government, helping find next of kin to the recently deceased. To fit in more among his co-workers and to feel as normal as possible, forty something year old Andrew begins a series of lies which eventually unravel with the arrival of his new co-worker, Peggy, and their unexpected yet humane friendship.

I really enjoyed reading this quaint, funny, emotionally layered story and Peggy and Andrew's characters. The big reveal about Andrew, although not very surprising, made me root for him even more. The book also delves into themes of loneliness, loss, grief and mental illness which make the story relatable and Andrew more humane. On the flip side, none of the other characters were as fleshed out as the mains, which made them seem a little wishy washy and negligible.
All in all, I enjoyed the book for a quick, fun yet emotional tale.
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This was a new type of read for me. It was good and had me wanting to keep reading. This is a new to me author also and i may go to look for other books by this author.
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The premise of How Not To Die Alone is telegraphed early by the title. I have to say that Richard Roper kept the promise of the premise.  The hero is complex and layered with secrets that slowly reveal throughout the novel.  I really appreciated the respect (even with humor) with which Mr. Roper treated the occupation of the hero.  This book was not predictable, which made it an engaging read.  I would definitely like to read more from Richard Roper. 
I received my copy through NetGalley under no obligation.
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3 stars for this book.

For starters, this book felt very long. Some of it was really funny, some of it felt irrelevant. 

The book centers around Andrew, a single socially awkward Londoner who likes model trains and has no friends. He was the strange job of going to people’s homes after they die and looking for their next of kin. One day he gets a new coworker named Peggy. As he begins falling in love with her, he starts slowly changing and opening up to the world around me. 

For fans of Eleanor oliphant, this book is a suitable substitute.
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This novel will inevitably be compared to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely FIne. And I get it.....they both feature quirky protagonists, socially awkward situations and a painfully lonely existence. I very much enjoyed the book, but I loved Eleanor and am still missing her. I found How Not to Die Alone to be a charming, hopeful story. 

Andrew has an unusual job:  When someone dies alone, he goes into their homes to search for clues to track down family and friends or evidence of funds....to pay for their funeral. Whew! Yes, that could be a depressing set-up. But his author treats it with dark humor and poignancy. 

Andrew is a mess. Through an initial misunderstanding during his job interview he let his boss believe he has a wife and two children and lives in a grand home. Over his years of employment he hasn't been able to tell the truth. He lives alone in a dingy one bedroom apartment surrounded by model trains. His only friends are fellow train enthusiasts he interacts with via an online forum. 

Then Peggy comes to work at the office and he begins to have feelings for her....but she thinks he is happily married with two adoring children. 

On one level the story is about all the slapstick scenarios set up by Andrew's mythical family Keeping this ruse going is taking it toll on Andrew...and he wasn't in a good place to start. 

On a deeper level I found this to be a portrait of grief and the effects of trauma on an individual. Throughout the novel Andrew has terrible flashbacks causing him extreme emotional distress. The author unravels Andrew's personal history very slowly over the course of the novel. As I started to realize the cause of Andrew's anxiety and the depth of his despair, my heart broke. Can you imagine being so lonely, you perpetuate the myth of a family, because you have become emotionally invested in the welfare of your imaginary family? And at the same time, Andrew knew keeping the farce going was absurd. 

I'm an empathetic person, I feel things deeply, even the plight of fictional characters. A different personality may find Andrew annoying or ridiculous. If you enjoyed Eleanor, I'd like you to meet Andrew. If you didn't enjoy Eleanor, I'd still love for you to meet Andrew :)
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Andrew lives his life completely alone. However, a misunderstanding on a job interview leads his potential future boss to think he has a wife and family. After he gets the job, he continues to let his boss and co-workers think he has a family because he is afraid of losing his job, and he wants to fit in. Then, he gets a new co-worker named Peggy, and Andrew just may want to make a real connection with someone for the first time in a long time. However,  a traumatic incident from his past may keep holding him back, and Peggy has issues of her own. This is a beautiful story about people learning to connect with one another. Despite his flaws, the character of Andrew displays such a touching vulnerability that you can't help rooting for him. This book will leave you appreciating your humanity and having people in your life that you care about and who care about you in return.
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I don’t think there is a book that I had made me both laugh and cry only a few pages apart as much as this. 

I didn’t expect a book about death and loneliness to be as funny as this was. From the first few pages, I found myself giggling at some of the situations and especially at Andrew’s thoughts and dialogue. While the beginning was a bit slow for me, once I began to care for Andrew (and his growing closeness with Peggy) I didn’t want to stop reading. 

The sad parts of this book were somehow completely unexpected in a book dealing with someone working with dead people. A few of the revelations completely shocked me and made me look at earlier parts of the story in a new light. 

I’ve seen this book compared to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and while I can see where the comparisons come from, I think Andrew is a significantly more enjoyable protagonist. I couldn’t finish Eleanor Oliphant because her personality and actions were so over-the-top, but I found myself truly caring for Andrew.
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