Richard Roper’s debut novel, Something to Live For, is a surprisingly endearing, funny and moving story about loneliness and the people who fall through the cracks in their own lives.
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.
Richard Roper’s main character has an unusual job, one which most of us would consider to be something of a thankless task, that is, if we gave it any thought at all or even knew of its existence. Andrew chooses to go beyond what’s required under his job description and, in his own small way, lends some dignity and humanity to the lives of people he doesn’t know and who will never know what he does for them. I found this incredibly touching and warmed to him almost immediately for the kindness he shows these strangers.
Richard Roper writes them with sensitivity and humour, especially when Peggy arrives on the scene, but I still found some of the description of living conditions, not least Andrew’s own, difficult to read. It saddened me to think of people coming to exist in this way.
Peggy. Oh, how I loved and adored the character of Peggy. Even when she is facing her own challenges and dealing with what life throws at her, she still has time to listen and be there for others. She is a kind, beautiful soul who manages to find the joy and humour in everyday life. I hope everyone knows one. We all need a Peggy in our lives. And if you don’t know one, perhaps you can try and be someone else’s Peggy?
Besides Andrew and Peggy, Something to LIve For has a wonderfully eclectic cast of characters and Andrew will call on some of them to help him find his way back to life and living it more fully. I loved that his online friends all might not have been exactly how he imagined them but prove every bit as much there for him as they have been in the chat room.
Something to Live For is a poignant and affecting novel, written with compassion and good humour. It will pull you in and then break you, before ever so gently putting you back together and giving you renewed hope in humanity. It’s ultimately an uplifting read that will feed your bookish soul and I fell head over heels in love with it.
Something to Live For by Richard Roper is published by Orion Books, an imprint of the Orion Publishing Group Ltd. It is available as an audiobook, ebook and in hardback with the paperback due out next year. You can find it at Amazon UK or buy it from Hive instead, where every purchase helps support your local independent bookshop. Something to Live For is Richard Roper’s first novel and was inspired by an article he read about council workers who deal with situations when someone dies alone.
My thanks to the publisher for sending me a proof copy as part of a competition they ran on Twitter.