Published by Orion
Available in Ebook & Hardback (27 June 2019) | Paperback (14 May 2020)
Source : Copy for review provided by publisher
ABOUT THE BOOK
Sometimes you have to risk everything to find your something…
All Andrew wants is to be normal. 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 his little white lie 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.
My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to take part in the tour and to the publisher for the review copy. I had seen this mentioned on Twitter previously and jumped at the chance to review. My apologies to all – my turn on the tour should have been yesterday but work has been manic leading up to a major office move and I just couldn’t get my review ready in time.
Andrew Smith is one of life’s loners. 42 years old and working for the Council’s death department, it is his job to search for next of kin when contacted by the coroner – to go through their homes for evidence of money to pay for the funeral, a will and any evidence of family or friends who may wish to know of the person’s demise. One extra thing he does do, which isn’t in his job description is to attend their funeral. Most of the time it is just him and the vicar – but the thought of someone departing this world completely on their own is something he couldn’t let happen.
Due to a misunderstanding at his interview which he has never felt able to correct, his colleagues believe he is married to Diane with 2 children, living in a large expensive house. Little do they realise he goes home alone to a grotty flat, with only a model trainset and his online buddies on the model railway forum for company.
When Peggy joins the team and has to shadow Andrew on his house visits the two slowly build a friendship and form an alliance – for reasons you will understand when you read the book.
This book really dug its way into my heart. I loved Andrew but I adored Peggy. Ever since she mistakenly sat down in Andrew’s chair on her first day in the job, she was an absolute joy. Her no nonsense but kind manner was the perfect antidote to Andrew’s lack of confidence.
Something to Live For is funny, emotional and poignant. I was chuckling with laughter one moment and had a lump in the throat the next. From the vivid descriptions of their house searches where Andrew sprays aftershave into their masks to try to mask the awful stench as they move through the rooms, to the loneliness of people’s lives and the manner of their death. The separate thread of Andrew and his sister Sally was one that caught me by surprise. As the story progresses, you learn the reason for Andrew’s sadness and why he has chosen to live this way. My heart ached for him, even though there were times when I was so frustrated by his inability to move forward when he had the opportunity, I wanted to shake him.
All the characters are so wonderfully drawn, Andrew and Peggy in particular. Peggy has her difficult home life, Andrew’s train forum buddies were an unexpected delight and as for his boss Cameron, well, I’m sure many of us can relate to bosses like him!
Something to Live for is the author’s debut novel. It deserves huge success, it’s fabulous. I loved it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard Roper was inspired by an article he read about the council workers who deal with situations when someone dies alone. Their days are spent sifting through the ephemera of those who’ve slipped through the cracks, searching for clues to a next of kin. Council workers are under no obligation to attend the funerals. Yet they do, sometimes dozens of them a year, just to make sure at least someone is there.
Richard Roper lives in London. SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR is his first novel.