How Not to Die Alone

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 28 May 2019

Member Reviews

After a tiny white lie spirals into Andrew inventing a wife and two kids, he’s confronted with the choice of whether to reveal the truth and possibly finally have the relationship he’s been imagining all this time, or get rejected, fired, and still be alone. 

This was such a quirky, funny story. I didn’t love the infidelity aspects... whether or not Andrews wife was real, both he and Peggy believed the other was married. I thought the train hobby and the forum buddies was really cute and loved the resolution at the end. The author really delved into the topic of loneliness and I appreciated how he brought that full circle at the conclusion.
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Andrew works a thankless and sad job. His job is to find the family or friends of people who die alone. Then at the end of the day he goes home alone to his apartment. His coworkers think that at the end of the day he goes home to his own family, but that is a lie that has gotten way out of control. When a new employee named Peggy starts at the company, everything Andrew thought he knew about life and love changes. 

This book started out a little slow for me, but by the middle I was loving it and by the end I was absolutely in love with it. When you think you know how the story is going to proceed, the author throws in a curveball. I just really, really loved this book. I could feel myself empathizing with Andrew and just wanted to root for everything to work out for him. I would definitely recommend this book!
#HowNotToDieAlone #NetGalley
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How Not to Die Alone- 3.75/5⭐️
This book presented an amazing message. The main character, Andrew, is in charge of going to homes once someone has been found dead and the initial signs show that they didn’t have a next of kin. His job is to search the house for anything that would allow him to contact someone that might about cared about them and for any valuables that may allow them to help pay for the funeral.
Andrew decides to attend the funerals so that they would at least have someone attend their funeral. While it might not be noticeable at first glance, Andrew is as lonely as the people he tries to help. If you were to ask his coworkers about him they’d say he was happily married with kids. This was not even close to the truth. Only when Andrew gets a new coworker does he begin to question what he wants in life.
This book highlights what loneliness can do someone. It highlights just how powerful grief can be. This book talks about grief and depression in a way that can be relatable and shows that we never know just how the person next to you might be struggling. It feels weird rating this book but I did feel like it was super slow at the beginning. It wasn’t until I got to the half way point that I felt myself truly pulled in.
Trigger warnings: Death and Depression
Thank you to @Netgalley and @putnambooks for review copy. It will be available May 28.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam for my complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 
Pub Date: May 28, 2019

     ‘How To Not Die Alone’ by Richard Roper is the type of novel that will pull at your heartstrings. There is a delicately brilliant way in which Roper exposes the deepest fear of the majority of humans. At the end of the day, regardless of the lies we might tell ourselves and others, we are afraid of dying alone. Yet, simultaneously, we have a paranoia of being accepted and, therefore, an inability of making the appropriate type of connections. I went into this novel hardly knowing what to expect, but as you get to know Andrew, you are hard pressed to feel anything towards him besides love. 

     Reminiscent of ‘Elinor Oliphant Is Completely Fine’, the reader is presented with a flawed and somewhat delusional narrator who is merely trying to rid himself of his lonely as he navigates life. It hardly seems to be a coincidence that Roper places Andrew into a profession that forces his character to question both humanity and mortality on a regular basis. When your profession is to pick up the pieces of the lives of those who have perished completely alone, it only serves to exacerbate your own fear that you will find yourself in a similar situation. Andrew chooses to feed himself and those around him lies about his happiness to cover up the abysmal truth- that he, in fact, has nobody. 

     But then Peggy comes along, an individual struggling with her own form of lonely. Married to a man who puts a bottle of alcohol before her every single time, she seems to take a job alongside Andrew as a last ditch effort to figure it all out. The subsequent friendship Andrew and Peggy form results in them both questioning and rearranging everything. 

     Roper’s writing is refreshing and beautifully strung together. The reader will find it impossible to put the book down and will also enter into their own inner dialogue about what it truly means to be happy in this one life we are given.
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**Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, G.P. Putnam's Sons for an advance copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased feedback.** 

This book was a little slow starting for me, but after about 50 or so pages, I got sucked right in. 

Andrew's job is a little... different. He works for a government agency entering the homes of deceased people who lived and died alone. His job is to searches for any sign of next of kin or funds to pay for a funeral. A dark task (to say the least), but someone has to do it? 

For the last 20 years, Andrew has also lived alone but, due to an unfortunate misunderstanding during his interview, all of his co-workers think he is married with two children. Once he meets Peggy, his new trainee, he starts to reflect (more than he would normally like) on the direction his life is headed and how he got to the particular place he is in. 

This book is darkly funny and thoughtful without being heavy. Even though the subject matter is a bit heartbreaking, Roper does an excellent job providing hope and humor to even things out. 

I absolutely loved this book.
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4.5 Stars!!! This is an excellent, funny, sad, and thought-provoking work of uplit that examines themes of loneliness, grief and isolation. If you’re a fan of novels like “Eleanor Oliphant is Completet Fine,” then I definitely think this would be right up your alley. It’s also slightly reminiscent of self-discovery fiction from Nick Hornby and Mike Gayle from years and years ago with the misfit male hero trying to fit in and find their place in the world.  I’m not sure what I expected going into this, but it definitely wasn’t something as laugh out loud humorous, touching and sentimental as this was.

The premise of this is painfully shy, socially awkward (in the most apologetically British of ways) Andrew accidentally lying about his background during a job interview to make a connection to his prospective boss. However, you can only keep a lie going for so long, especially if your job is one that constantly slaps you with life lessons on how not to die alone.

I loved this book and highly recommend it to fans of contemporary British fiction, It was slightly more sentimental than I expected and I could tell from the pacing and plot organization in parts that it was a debut because at times the timelines were a bit jumpy. But then again, this book was so well-executed that I think the parts that were not to my taste were intentional to produce some sort of jarring effect and they do succeed in that. I often found myself immersed in Andrew’s life and struggles on the one hand but yelling at him to do something on the other. Overall, it’s a really fantastic debut and it’s really well-written!
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How Not to Die Alone really surprised me. The description caught my attention and the book lived up to the expectations it promised. But the surprising part was how much it made me think!  Dealing with people who have died alone is a very complex situation. Thankfully Andrew was just the character for the job. His life had been pretty complex also. Peggy and her no nonsense attitude were just what Andrew needed. I fell in love with both Andrew and Peggy. This book was intense and serious but also beautiful and loving. A perfect combination.
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Although I did enjoy this book it seem to flatline. Parts that should of made my heart race with anticipation kinda just cause a slight flutter. It was a very sweet and endearing book and made you think about what those who die alone feel like before it happens but it just didnt live up to my expectations of what I thought it could and should of been. The author was well written and the story was enjoyable just not my cup of tea.
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Working for a council office in the U. K. can be a bit harrowing when the job entails investigating the deaths of those with no known relatives. (After doing some research, I am assuming that the council office in an area of England is a local government entity. I am not sure if it is like a county government in the U.S. but I am assuming that it a close comparison.) Andrew is that person who works for the Council office and does the investigations, no matter how how sad or gruesome the death scene may be. He is a man with hidden life experiences that he refuses to face. He leads a solitary life whose only entertainment comes from Ella Fitzgerald tunes and miniature train sets. His office has three quirky workers until the stabilizing new hire, Peggy, comes into the picture. Peggy becomes a friend and Andrew begins to change his life. This book has so many facets, emotions and nuances that make up the story. It was a different kind of story, but one that kept me hooked until the end. I give this well-written book four solid stars for being quirky, engaging and fulfilling until the end. 

Thanks to Penguin Group Putnam for allowing me to read and review this book.
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How Not to Die Alone has the perfect mix of dry wit and humor, alongside poignant reflection on how fragile life can be and the importance of keeping important relationships close. As the title suggests, much of this book centers on death, and drying alone.  What could have been a very depressing story is kept in check through the writer's wit and character's dialogue, as well as the joy of watching the main character form new relationships.

I feel obligated to say that if you don't enjoy a bit of dark humor, you may not enjoy this book nearly as much as I did.  I love a dry quip, and this book is full of them. There were also points when I was just not sure how the story was possibly going to be resolved, but in the end, Roper managed to tie up pretty much all of the loose ends.
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Great story! I’m glad I recently heard about this book and was able to get an early arc from Netgalley. 

Definitely one of my top books for this year, highly recommend! Don’t want to say too much and spoil the story.
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I DNF this book. The pacing was a bit slow for me and not a voice that captured my attention but I do think the writing was good and I can respect what the book was doing, but it just wasn't for me
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What starts out as a miscommunication takes a life of it’s own for Andrew and it was a good story that I enjoyed in “How Not To Die Alone”. Maybe because so much of the story deals with death so matter-of-factly the bits celebrating life are more poignant. This book made me think about how valuable relationships are.
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I loved How Not to Die Alone right away--the main character, Andrew, is just the right mixture of quirky and charming, and the author does a very good job at showing us all of his neurotic and morbid thoughts. In all fairness, though, part of that morbidity stems from his employment. He works for a government agency that gives funerals to people who die alone without friends or family. Most of the time, these people rot away in their homes for months before anybody realizes they're gone, and it's Andrew's job to then go to these people's houses to search for a will or any artifacts to determine whether the person has any friends or family who want to attend the funeral. Sadly, the answer is often no. The fact that Andrew goes above and beyond what's expected of him by showing up to each and every one of the funerals so the deceased will have at least one mourner tells us a lot about what kind of person he is. 

We also learn a lot about his wife, Diane and his two kids, Steph and David. The only problem is that his family doesn't actually exist; he made them up on the spot years ago during his job interview. Andrew keeps the lie going, partly because he can't figure out a way to tell his coworkers the truth and partly because the lie makes him feel better. He actually lives alone, likely destined to end up like the people he investigates: rotting away in his apartment for months with nobody noticing he's missing...unless something changes. 

Happily, something does change when he meets Peggy, and the two have instant chemistry. However, it doesn't seem meant to be: she already has a family, and so does he...sort of. Ultimately, their friendship is what shines, and readers can't help but root for Andrew to take a risk, any sort of risk, to make a human connection.

The only reason I gave this book four stars instead of five was because of some pacing issues that cause the book to drag unnecessarily in places. Overall, I would recommend it to anyone.
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This was a great book about human connection, kindness, and how awkwardness might cause a misheard question to be answered untruthfully and spiral out of control. Told with hilarity and sharp insights into the human psyche, I found this book equal parts funny, engaging, and serious. It's hard connecting to the world as adults, and navigating how to interact and find friends when it's just as easy to isolate oneself. This book is about that. I will be looking forward to other books by this author.
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"'There's a piece of music,' he said, 'It's one of my favorites. But there's this moment right at the end, that's jarring, and loud, and sort of shocking, even thought I'm expecting it. So when I'm listening to the song, as much as I'm enjoying it, it's always sort of spoiled by the fact I know this horrible ending is coming. But, there's nothing I can do about it, is there? So , in a way, it's like what you were saying earlier, about people who are able to acknowledge they're going to die: if I could just accept the ending's coming, then I could concentrate on enjoying the rest of the song so much more." 

How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper tells the story of Andrew. Andrew works for a department of his local council, and his day to day job is to search through homes of the recently deceased looking for evidence of a next of kin. Through a slight misunderstanding his coworkers believe he is a happily married man with two children. The fact is however, Andrew lives alone with only is records and model train sets for company. Though this small, white, lie started out harmless, Andrew has let it balloon out of control. 
Then he meets Peggy and he begins to rethink everything. Should he continue to keep up his lie and risk losing everything he has built with Peggy, or tell the truth and start living really living his life again?

So, this book was just OK for me. I can see how fans of Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine would really enjoy this book, because it has the same kind of vibe. I enjoyed the last half much more then the first  half. I found the plot to be kind of slow paced throughout most of the novel. 
The main character Andrew tended to annoy me. He would be sort of dull and depressing, then have these epiphanies of brilliant thoughts and I would think "Oh there's some personality!" Especially when he would come out of his shell, and be himself around Peggy.  But Oh his white lie!! He had so many opportunities to tell the truth, and when he didn't I would literally groan out loud. When the back story of his lie comes to light, I was able to sympathize with him much more and enjoy the book. I wish readers would have been made aware of this a little bit of information sooner in the story, rather than later. 
Overall , I give this book 3/5 stars.
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I really enjoyed this quirky novel.  It had a feel like A Man Called Ove- kind of depressing yet heartwarming at the same time.  The characters were well developed and made the book more enjoyable.  You will care for them and what happens to them especially Andrew and Peggy.  

Andrew has an odd job of going to homes where the homeowner has died and no one noticed for some time.  His job is to find out if they have family or friends and if the homeowner has money to pay for their own funeral.  Andrew is also alone- although he lies about having family to his coworkers.  Much like Ove, Andrew is depressed but you will just like him.  He’s also funny and charming in his own way.  If you like Ove (or I’m also told Eleanor Oliphant), you’ll love Andrew too in this dark humor novel.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I wound up DNFing this book 56% in. I felt the characters were flat and the non-dialogue writing just went on and on. 

I also cannot fathom how Andrew could get himself out of the ditch of lies he has created. I wanted to love this book, but the comparisons to Eleanor Oliphant and Ove are a bit much in my opinion. 

Gave 2 stars because I think there was promise here, but the drawn out slow moving writing was too much.
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I kind of like this book - and how the title relates both to the main character and his job at the department helping to make funeral arrangements for people that died with no relatives. The story is interesting and you can somehow relate to the character and his struggles.
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Nearly every day Andrew is faced with sorting through the personal belongings of people who have died alone hoping to find a next of kin or just someone to remember the person who has passed. Happening more frequently, Andrew is the sole person attending the funerals. His colleagues would be worried except Andrew has a loving wife and two kids (a boy and a girl) at home to balance the happy and the sad. 

Except, that's not entirely true. Andrew doesn't have a family, but after telling his boss at his hiring interview all about his family, Andrew has kept up the ruse fearing he's lose his job otherwise, and also not wanting to admit to the fact that he's lonely. Now it's getting so out of control Andrew can barely tell where the lies end and the truth begins. 

Then, Andrew meets Peggy -  a new hire in the office. As Andrew trains Peggy the two connect almost immediately and start forming a lovely friendship that has the potential to blossom into something more. Now Andrew is faced with coming clean about his made up family. But will Peggy, or anyone, still look at him the same once they learn his secret? The problem with coming clean is that Andrew will finally have to start living his life, that means moving on from a past that he has tried really hard to keep from dealing with. 

I have to say that I was surprised with the depth of the exploration of life and death and the ways in which the loss of someone can change your life. I felt like I was prepared for the surface level, but as the story progresses it becomes clear that Andrew is facing something deeper than initially presented. I don't want to talk about it too much because I felt like seeing the pieces fit together is all part of the journey - both Andrew's and the reader's - and I enjoyed going in a little unprepared. 

But, while the Richard Roper presents a deft hand at the topic of life and death, I just felt like the story as a whole dragged a bit too much. While I sympathized with Andrew, there were a few times I felt like we were going around and around in a circle in regards to him moving forward. Which is a shame because if you're someone else who feels the same and decided to give up early you'd miss the satisfying ending to Andrew's story. So, all I can say is if we are like me and felt a lull in the drive of the story, don't give up because it's worth it. 

Truly, it's the relationship between Peggy and Andrew that really makes the story pop. They have such a great chemistry. While Andrew's personal development (around which the whole story is centered) at times dragged, I enjoyed the slow development of Andrew and Peggy's feelings for one another. As Andrew says throughout it's complicated and Mr. Roper certainly presents all the complications that come with being a responsible adult and then some for Peggy and Andrew. But seeing them, together and individually, work through their complications only makes their connection with one another brighter. 

I feel like Richard Roper took a subject that could have easily been too morose and gave us hope and light, and a bit of laughter.
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