[A] winning debut novel ... Like many funny novels, How Not to Die Alone is influenced by the adage that humor equals tragedy plus time. We root for Andrew to come clean and connect, as much for his benefit as our entertainment ... when Roper makes it work, the payoff is tremendous ... Roper’s unbridled compassion for his characters is the book’s greatest strength. He doesn’t judge or patronize, even when they act foolishly. It’s this generosity of spirit that allowed me to forgive, if not ignore, the novel’s shortcomings ... I loved this novel with my whole heart.
...slight but charming ... Gentle comedy and these characters’ innately kind natures enriches what might have been starkly sad moments ... The charming-verging-on-wacky Andrew might remind readers of Bridget Jones, as he gets himself in and out of romantic scrapes. There are few surprises in the unwinding of the story’s outcome ... an overall enjoyable read.
How Not to Die Alone might have a macabre-sounding title, but debut author Richard Roper somehow wove bleak subject matter together with a charming (if not bumbling) hero ... I do have to warn readers right away that where the hero’s job was to inspect people’s homes, sometimes months after they had died, the vivid descriptions of the messes inside might be too much for some ... I thoroughly enjoyed his coworker Peggy and found her to be a refreshing addition to his life who turned things upside down for our hero. The friendship between them was sweet and absolutely lovely ... Introspective, poignant and superbly written, How Not to Die Alone was the type of novel to make you think, reflect on your life and even on how you interact with others.
... a tragic, sweet, and hopeful novel ... Readers won’t feel sorry for him, but will root for him, wanting him to fully blossom into the connected, charming person he truly is. This is a story of healing, with a lot of humor along the way.
Reading How Not to Die Alone is like unpacking that very last box after a move: You’ll wonder why you didn’t open it first because the things inside are so delightful. By taking a sobering premise and sprinkling it heavily with the wryest, darkest humor, author Richard Roper offers a story you’ll really hate to put down ... this book becomes origami-like: It folds inward to make us gasp in surprise and unfolds into a real charmer ... a novel you won’t be able to keep quiet about.
... teems with dark humor and amusing observations about life ... What one person finds funny may bore or offend another, which explains the vast range of comic styles — from satire to slapstick to deadpan — author Richard Roper employs effectively throughout...Except for an over-the-top first chapter that strains for laughs, the novel succeeds with an easy rhythm and sudden strokes of fun ... a book to take to bed, to relax with. After a well-earned twist, the novel’s end leans toward upbeat but without a fairytale solution. It’s simply a lovely tale of two people in the midst of change who are making the best of things.
The author has a fine ear for crisp dialogue, good flashbacks and characterization ... The author breathes a large gust of life into the narrative with Peggy Green, a funny, outspoken woman who becomes Andrew’s colleague and confidante ... The joy of reading this novel comes in rooting for the two main characters and cheering when they overcome their fears sufficiently to start their lives over.
...quirky and heartfelt ... Andrew’s past traumas are revealed gradually, and the reasons behind his isolation are heartbreaking and poignant. A moving and funny look at grief, hope, and the power of human connections.