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All booksContemporary fictionHow Not to Die Alone
How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper
Contemporary fiction

How Not to Die Alone

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Richard Roper, on your first book!
Early Release
This is an early release that's only available to our members—the rest of the world has to wait 'til next month to read it.

by Richard Roper

Quick take

Steady job? Check. Great apartment? Check. Loving family? Well...

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FastRead

    Fast read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Sad


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Quirky


Why I love it

Liberty Hardy
BOTM Judge

Prepare yourself for hilarity and heart-squeezes in this life-affirming novel about—wait for it—death!

Andrew has an unusual job for a civil servant: He goes into the homes of deceased people who lived alone and searches their belongings for clues of any living relatives. He is respectful and sensitive, and the job suits him. Andrew himself lives a quiet life alone—not that his coworkers know that. For five years, due to a small error, he’s allowed them to believe he’s happily married with children.

Now Andrew’s lie has come back to bite him, not only because his boss is suggesting they take turns hosting team-building dinners, but also because of the new employee, Peggy. Peggy is friendly and full of life, and Andrew is falling for her. But if he tells her the truth, will she ever talk to him again? And will his boss fire him if he finds out the truth?

I had no idea what to expect when I started this, and was delighted to discover that not only was it full of humor, but it has so much heart. Roper has done a great job weaving together a story of one man’s loneliness and dreams in the face of mortality. I never found it to be too heavy, despite death playing a large part in the story, and I also found myself wishing that everything, against all odds, would turn out all right for Andrew in the end.

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Andrew's been feeling stuck. For years he's worked a thankless public health job, searching for the next of kin of those who die alone. Luckily, he goes home to a loving family every night. At least, that's what his coworkers believe.

Then he meets Peggy.

A misunderstanding has left Andrew trapped in his own white lie and his lonely apartment. When new employee Peggy breezes into the office like a breath of fresh air, she makes Andrew feel truly alive for the first time in decades. But telling Peggy the truth could mean losing everything. For twenty years, Andrew has worked to keep his heart safe, forgetting one important thing: how to live. Maybe it's time for him to start.

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Get an early look from the first pages of How Not to Die Alone.

Member thoughts

All (7038)
All (7038)
Love (2054)
Like (3950)
Dislike (1034)
7354 ratings
  • 28% Love
  • 54% Like
  • 14% Dislike
  • Coeur D Alene , ID

    I’m typically a thriller and historical fiction gal, but I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and picked this one! What a gem this is! It’s about grief and love and it gave me all the feels!!

  • Scottsdale, AZ

    I don’t even know how to explain this book. It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. You want to protect him but beat him at the same time! It’ll make you look at strangers differently.

  • Nashville, TN

    I ADORED it. I love Andrew and I love the idea behind this book which I believe is what a lot of people misunderstood. The story isn’t leading anywhere in particular, which is the point. It’s subtle.

  • San Francisco, CA

    One of the best books I’ve read this year. A beautiful and heartwarming story that examines loneliness, love, loss, and guilt with rich characters and excellent British humor. I didn’t want it to end.

  • Walla Walla, WA

    This book was great! Funny, in a warped way ???????? Peggy is wonderful how she encourages our hero to live. The life lesson.. take a Chance, worse case? You’ll be in a plastic suit going through homes


    If you love Eleanor in Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine, then you’ll fall head over heels for Andrew! I loved his and Peggy’s quirks. I laughed, I cried, I dreaded part... it gave me ALL THE FEELS!

  • Clinton, MS

    Felt a bit like a male version of Eleanor Oliphant, but this was a lovely story. There was enough that was different that it didn’t feel like a redundant story. Enjoyed the characters. Wrapped up well

  • Media , PA

    I am a lover of books. Most of my reviews say that I loved the book I’m reviewing. This book was no exception. The characters were fantastic, and it was a fresh, unique plot line in an unusual setting

  • San Francisco, CA

    Really superb writing by this author! An introvert, model-train-loving protagonist who doesn’t quite know how to relate to the world around him. A story of moving forward and a second chance at life.

  • Overland Park, KS

    Rarely do books feel like they are truly original. Often I catch myself guessing the ending or the big surprise before it comes. I didn’t with this book. It was a great reflection on life and living.

  • Jacksonville, NC

    How Not To Die Alone will resonate with lovers of Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant & connect with all of us who feel a little awkward, out of place, and maybe kinda alone in the world. It gives hope!

  • New Brockton, AL

    Andrew told what he believed to be harmless white lie one day in an attempt to fit in. His lie grows & grows. Then a new coworker starts & he doesn’t know what to do? What do you think he should do?

  • Laveen, AZ

    I haven't been this in love w a book since Dark Matter! I laughed, I cried, I couldn't stop talking this book up. Every time I think the plot is going a traditional way, I'm delightfully wrong! 5stars

  • Newton, KS

    It's such a slow build that it almost lost me in the middle, but I'm glad I kept going. The last 50 or so pages made the journey worthwhile. I'd never read a character quite like Andrew, so way to go!

  • FPO, AE

    I did not expect to like this book as much as I did! I was so pleased with it. The twist with his fake family was both unexpected and heartwrenching. Overall I found it to be a sweet, delightful story


    This book had me at all emotions! I was angry, then happy, then sad, then shocked.. you get the point! AMAZING BOOK. I need a sequel! I need to know what Peggy and Andrew are up to now, I am invested!

  • Racine , WI

    This is one of my favorite books of all time. I loved the characters. The plot seems so convoluted, and the payoff is that much better because of it. I immediately gave it to my mom who also LOVED it.

  • Limerick, PA

    This book was very enjoyable. It was a quick read and I don't have any real complaints. I didn't fall in love with it, but I still had fun reading it. I liked the main character and the love interest.

  • Fridley, MN

    A thought-provoking look at Andrew's life and where his decisions have brought him. The story unravels in beautiful fashion and even leaves a few surprises along the way. A few sorrowful, a few happy!


    I enjoyed this book a lot. I appreciated Andrew's growth and his flaws. It was great to see that even in the hopeless times, there are people who are there for you and there are meaningful connections

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