Sometimes you have to risk everything to find your something…
Andrew works with death for a living. Searching for people’s next of kin and attending the funerals if they don’t have anyone, he’s desperate to avoid the same fate for himself. Which is fine, because he has the perfect wife and 2.4 children waiting at home for him after a long day. At least, that’s what he’s told people.
The truth is, his life isn’t exactly as people think and the little white lie he once told is about to catch up with him.
Because in all Andrew’s efforts to fit in, he’s forgotten one important thing: how to really live. And maybe, it’s about time for him to start.
Published 27th June 2019 by Orion
~ Review ~
There’s been a bit of a focus recently on lonliness in our increasingly isolated worlds and the impact this has on our mental health. And it’s also featuring strongly in fiction – or maybe that’s the type of book I’m drawn to?. This is the second book in a row I’ve read with similar themes, only this time it’s from a male perspective.
When Andrew went for an interview at a local council, a misunderstanding starts off a lie that escalates and overwhelms him. To his colleague, he is husband to a highly successful lawyer, Diane and father to two lovely kids. He talks about their achievements, illnesses and family ups and downs. But when he leaves the office, Andrew returns to his lonely bedsit, where he’s lived for the last twenty years and prepares his meal for one. But when his boss decides the perfect team bonding exercise is to get to know one another out of work and take turns to host dinner parties along with their partners, Andrew is thrown into panic. And then there’s the new colleague, Peggy, who has brought Andrew out of his shell over the last couple of months. Is his life about to fall apart Just when Andrew is about to start living?
Oh how this book broke my heart and pieced it back together again! I absolutely adored it. It’s has that perfect blend of humour and vulnerability that brings a character truely to life and ensures they stay with you for a long time.
Andrew is such a likable character, that it was almost painful to see the car crash heading his way as his lie is bound to be exposed. I felt that Richard Roper wrote him brilliantly – capturing a sense of abandonment, loneliness, isolation and lack of self esteem that is tangible. Yet at the same time I always felt there was hope for him, championed him and really wanted things to work out. I’ve read quite a lot of similar books from a female perspective, so it was really interesting and thought provoking to read Andrew’s story.
The friendship between Andrew and Peggy is wonderful to watch unfold, as she lights a spark in him and kind of brings him back to life. The setting of their work place was also fascinating – a council department which clears the homes and arranges funerals for the deceased with no other family or friends. There were some lighter, funny moments tinged with sadness. It’s a sombre thought, to die completely alone in the world without friend or family.
Something To Live For has dark and heartbreaking themes, yet is a book that shines with joy and hope. It’s one of those books that restore your faith in humanity and inspires you to be kinder. Thought-provoking, relevant, sad and funny – I devoured this book in a matter of hours and am still thinking about it long after turning the last page.
(I read an advance proof copy courtesy of the publisher)