How Not to Die Alone is the story of Andrew, a public health employee whose job it is to find the next-of-kin of people who die alone. After hours of digging through the deceased’s belongings looking for a phone number, a photo, anything to indicate a personal relationship with a living soul, Andrew goes home to a dank, lonely apartment…which would be fine, except he accidentally on purpose let his coworkers believe he was married with children. When his office hires Peggy, a woman who makes Andrew feel happy and excited about life, he struggles with whether and how to tell the truth. Would Peggy abandon him? Would he lose his job? Is the truth worth the risk?
Whew. This book is…strange. I had a really hard time getting into it. I will say, though, that the ending is very heartwarming and I blew through the last 150 pages in a single sitting.
I can’t say much about the story without giving a lot away, but I do want to say I have a SERIOUS problem with Andrew and Peggy’s relationship. Peggy is married with kids and Andrew is supposedly married with kids but this relationship is portrayed as totally normal and acceptable. Frequent casual lunches between married coworkers is questionable enough but the dinner dates? And the road trip? Hell no.
Despite my my moral objections to this CENTRAL aspect of the plot, I must sing the praises of Richard Roper’s writing. The content is weird but the writing is masterful and extremely enjoyable. There were many lines that made me literally laugh out loud. I would totally read the next book he writes.
4 stars. For the writing. In the hands of a lesser author, easily only 2 or 3.