Popsugar Reading Challenge 2020 – Book 25

Prompt- A book with a great first line

There are lots of books with great first lines:

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

So I scoured my TBR pile looking for an  interesting opening line and found this:

“Andrew looked at the coffin and tried to remember who was inside it.”

The opening line to Something to Live For by Richard Roper so that’s the one I picked.

What it’s about?

All Andrew wants is to be normal. That’s why his coworkers believe he has the perfect wife and two children waiting at home for him after a long day. But the truth is, his life isn’t exactly as people think . . . and his little white lie is about to catch up with him. Because in all of Andrew’s efforts to fit in, he’s forgotten one important thing: how to really live. And maybe, it’s finally time for him to start.

What I think:

This is such a great book!

Its about big, sad things – death, grief, loneliness. But it’s very funny and heartwarming and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Andrew works for the local council in the department that arranges funerals for people.who die alone. His job involves searching their homes and trying to track down relatives. He sees heartbreaking loneliness every day.

He is also incredibly lonely himself. He lives alone, his parents have both died and he has a very strained relationship woth his sister. They never see each other but she calls every three months to check on him during increasingly awkward phone calls.

Andrew’s only real friends are a group on online train enthusiasts that he “chats” to everyday without having met them or even knowing their real names.

Andrew knows that the way he lives is not considered “normal”. So during his job interview he told a white lie. When asked about his family he said he was married with two children. And the lie escalated. And now his boss has proposed a series of ‘Come Dine With Me’ style dinner parties so they can get to know each other. Andrew is horrified as he can not bring them back to his tiny, train-filled flat.

Andrew has also met Peggy. Someone who he actually likes spending time with and who gets his sense of humour. His friendship with Peggy quickly becomes the most important thing in Andrew’s life and he is terrified that his feelings for her and the lies he has told are going to ruin it.

This book makes you realise the loneliness that lots of people feel. Andrew’s story is so moving. He is forced to accept that he is the only one who can change his life for the better and that actually he has more friends than he thinks he does.

There are some terribly sad parts to this story – I won’t spoil them, but Andrew and Peggy uncover heartbreaking stories and Andrew’s past as it is revealed is a tear jerker.

There are also some very funny scenes with some dinner parties from hell and people’s ability to laugh in the face of tragedy.

This is such a good book! It was a My Book Moment choice and I’m so glad I got to read it.

You can discover the magic of Something to Live For at:

Waterstones: click here

Amazon.co.uk: click here

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