21 June 2019

Review: Something to Live For by Richard Roper

Something to Live For by Richard Roper book cover
* Copy courtesy of Hachette Australia *

Andrew is a loner working for the Council in the UK. He's a member of the Death Administration department dealing with deceased estates in the event a person dies without a next of kin. Andrew and his colleagues are responsible for searching the property for proof of family or friends and the funds to cover funeral expenses. If none can be found, the burden falls to the state.

Andrew is a model train hobbyist and his regular job and loner lifestyle made him instantly relatable and irresistibly likeable. Andrew's job is fascinating and the first thing that attracted me to this book, but after reading a few pages there was plenty to keep me engaged.

I loved Andrew's online interactions with his fellow model train enthusiasts and the general office banter and relationships also gave me cause to smile and nod along. I wasn't expecting to find much to laugh about, but Something to Live For often made me chuckle to myself, here's an example from Page 30:
Consequently, his living space was looking not so much tired as absolutely knackered. There was the dark stain where the wall met the ceiling in the area that masqueraded as a kitchen; then there was the battered grey sofa, the threadbare carpet and the yellowy-brown wallpaper that was meant to suggest autumn but in fact suggested digestive biscuits.
I can see why parallels are being drawn between this and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman: both characters are loners and both have some socialisation issues - albeit to different degrees. But this is lighter, less dramatic and therefore seemingly more real.

The only reason Something to Live For by Richard Roper wasn't a 5 star read for me was that it had a touch of the 'cringe factor' for me. The cringe factor is hard to describe, but here it came in the form of a lie Andrew told his work mates that had managed to snowball in the ensuing years. This kind of situation makes me cringe and while it made perfect sense for the character and the plot arc, it nevertheless prevented this from becoming a 5 star read for me.

This book is being published with a different title overseas (How Not To Die Alone) but I think the Australian title strikes the better chord and is more in keeping with the overall message of the novel. A moving and uplifting read, highly recommended.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!

Would you like to comment?

  1. I like the sound of Tracey, adding to my wishlist!

    1. Fantastic, great to hear Shelleyrae :-) Hope you enjoy it!


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