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 Not To 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.