This Book Will Save Your Life
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This Book Will Save Your Life

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  5,347 ratings  ·  715 reviews
Since her debut in 1989, A. M. Homes has been among the boldest and most original voices of her generation, acclaimed for the psychological accuracy and unnerving emotional intensity of her storytelling. Her ability to explore how extraordinary the ordinary can be is at the heart of her touching and funny new novel, her first in six years. This Book Will Save Your Life is
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Published March 8th 2007 by Hachette Audio (first published 2006)
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Jun 22, 2009 Kim rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: most cynics
Recommended to Kim by: Thank you, Michelle
You know, most days I sit around being angry. I’m in the car, I’m doing dishes, I’m waiting at the dentist (25 minutes after my scheduled appointment time.) and the thing is I’m not really conscious of it. It’s just there. It might present itself in my clenched jaw or that weird stabbing that runs right through my chest and out my back (I’ve been meaning to get that checked out, btw.)

So, I’ve been trying to analyze this. It’s like I’m mad about the ‘what might have beens’, or I’m mad that I’m su...more
Petra X
Three and a half stars.

An imagined medical emergency brings on an existential crisis in an over-bred, overwealthy but rather likeable WASP who is brought into contact with people who have little money and discovers they are as real as he is. Those with money in the book seem to be shallow and self-invented and those without have, thinks the protagonist, the secret of life. And donuts.

But wave goodbye as he disappears, perhaps, over the horizon in the ocean, washed there by an earthquake that vom...more
Sondra Wilson
I found this book in the belongings of my best friend who passed away in Nov. of 2006. She kept it around as a joke; she was dying of cancer. I read the book this January, to see what it was all about, noting that it was authored by one of my faves - A.M. Homes. It was ubsurdly unique timing. The book saved my life in a sense, at least saved my spirit. It tells the story of a man lost in the day-to-day routine of his scheduled life, a man who long ago set his feelings aside about things. It is t...more
I would rather stick rusty tacs under my fingernails while listening to my mother on speaker phone, in public, as she breaks down just exactly what I'm doing wrong in my life than finish this book.
It’s possible this book is already your life. And it’s a little tiny bit my life too.

This book left me cold. Not indifferent-this-is-failing-to-evoke-a-reaction cold. The good kind of cold. The this-feels-eerily-close-to-reality cold.

Surreal. What if we cut ourselves off from everyone and everything intentionally? What if we are already doing that without even noticing? I think we already are. When was the last time you held someone’s hand? When was the last time you sent out a hand written let...more
Wow, I really wanted to like this book. It had the potential. A depressed and disconnected man wakes up one day to realize the silliness and inherent discomfort of his too-comfortable life. It's set in the backdrop of an apocalyptic Los Angeles.

I spent many many hours slogging through this book waiting for plot to happen. But unfortunately the main character is wealthy, self centered and unlikeable and he stays that way. He is surrounded by mostly other unlikeable, wealthy people. His kid is a...more
Brian Solem
In the latter of her two literary epochs (the first being characterized by gritty, hyper-sexualized works like Jack and The End of Alice), A.M. Homes has written about slightly absurd things that happen to slightly absurd people. This Book Will Save Your Life fits this mold almost too perfectly: a man's nervous breakdown leads to a series of unusual events, each helping him return his life to good 'ol fashioned American normalcy. That This Book Will Save Your Life is one of Homes's most successf...more
this was one of the worst books i'd read in a long time. it was so bad i made myself finish it. as punishment for ever starting it. i boutht the book after seeing her read at B&N.
No, non mi ha salvato la vita, mi ha solo rotto le balle per la maggior parte del tempo.

Questo è il classico titolo ideato solo con lo scopo dell'attirare l'attenzione. Voglio dire, se vedete un titolo con un libro del genere, per un attimo lo prendete anche solo in mano. Perbacco, qui c'è una promessa scritta. E voi inconsapevolmente ci contate su quella promessa, pensate già all'ipotetica sbandata, voi ci credete davvero che potrebbe salvarvi la vita. Poi se non avete bisogno di salvagenti lib...more
This Book Will Save Your Life begins with Richard Novak, a wealthy Los Angeleno, having a health scare that sends him to the emergency room. The trauma causes Richard to look at the world and his outward success differently and he begins to make connections with the people he encounters--the man who sells him donuts, a woman he sees crying in the produce section, a neighbor he had never talked to--and with the people that he has spent a great deal of his adult life trying to avoid--his parents,...more
I usually stay away from contemporary fiction, but this one was in the book dumpster so I took it. (Not a good excuse, I know.) Given the combination of male midlife crisis, L.A. strangeness, and present tenseness, it's something of a miracle I was able to get past page 30. But it was actually fairly funny. Richard, the wealthy protagonist whose life feels meaningless until he begins rescuing other people from their problems, is likeable. My favorite character was his movie star next door neighb...more
Wow. Wow. wow. This book sneaks up on you - it starts out really strong, and then only gets better.

We are introducted to Richard Novak, a reclusive, wealthy middle-aged man living in Los Angeles who pretty much doesn't need to leave his house anymore - he has his trainer, his housekeeper and his nutritionist to keep him going. But then he has an attack of pain that causes him to call 911 and to come in contact with a series of people. Next there is a mysterious sink hole in front of his house,...more
I listened to the audiobook from

I very much enjoyed this novel. It was laugh out loud funny in places.

Publisher's Summary

Since her debut in 1989, A.M. Homes has been among the boldest and most original voices of her generation, acclaimed for the psychological accuracy and unnerving emotional intensity of her storytelling. Her keen ability to explore how extraordinary the ordinary can be is at the heart of her touching and funny new novel, her first in six years.

Richard Novak is a mo...more
This is the twelfth book I read on my commute. I started it after getting back from vacation in August, and while I was on vacation I read two other books - The Plutonium Blonde and Adventure! Vol. 1 - but those don't count as commute books since I read them on the beach.

This Book is almost a prototype for what I think of when I think "modern lit" - not much of a plot, just slice of life stuff about how ordinary people relate and get by. This Book has some characters who are a little more offbea...more
Ok. I finished this book. I started out excited about it. I liked the charachter and wondered what was going to happen. It was very easy to read and had a variety of characters. I get the everyday stuff that people go through.....and the feeling that each of them had of just wanting to be normal. But what is normal anyway?? I guess what ruined this book for me was the realationship and character of the son. I was so disappointed at what the author made him out to be that it ruined the book for m...more

(Melo)drama Just for Laugh

The self-recovery theme (with its adjacent motives - the assumption of the past and the reshaping of the future) was explored by so many authors that it seemed at some point a too beaten path. Well, if you thought so also, This Book Will Save Your Life may surprise you, beginning with the very title, with its misleading promise of both of a salutary epiphany and a useful tip for self-help, and continuing with a perpetual contrast between the gravity of the theme and th...more

Actual Rating. 4.5 stars.

A.M Homes is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. In 2013 I read The End of Alice and even though it dealt with a rough topic I was captivated by it and outraged by it all at the same time. What drew me in the most was the voice of the protagonist. He spoke properly and it was old-timey, and yet he was a paedophile who was imprisoned for a heinous crime. When I picked up This Book Will Save Your Life I wondered whether the writing style would be the same, wheth...more
I'd been waiting to get my hands on A.M. Homes' new book, May We Be Forgiven, but the title is in demand right I picked up her 2006 title and I really liked it.

This Book Will Save Your Life is a funny, though darkly funny and at times an almost painful look at how we live now. Set in L.A., it is the story of 55-year-old Richard Novak, financially successful but so disconnected from life that his few human interactions are with people he pays...his housekeeper, his nutritionist, his trai...more
Marina Maidou
A NewYorker way to see life not just showing the collapse but also the resurrection. A man who has no touch with life (ex-wife, son, parents, brother, friends etc.) discovers that there is a strange maybe, but also absolutely sympathetic way to find his humanity, his life, his soul. A good written novel with a deservedly amazing end, active in real time, with a deep sense and not soppy. I enjoyed it without to expect it. It reminded me Haruki Murakami in his high spirit, in the scenes that the u...more
Robert Day
Written after I read the book:
Maybe it won't save my life, but it's a good read all the same.

Written much much later (felt guilty that I'd written such a short review):
The premise: 'Richard is a modern day everyman.. he has done such a good job getting his life under control that he needs no one. His life has slowed almost to a standstill..' could almost describe me. Thing is though, it's set in some sunny US State; if it were set in a cloudy town in the north of England, then I would be looking...more
James T Kelly
First of all I need to admit that this book was written very well. The author has a compelling style and it's very easy to read. I read this book faster than I usually do because the prose just flowed off the page and through my brain. For that reason alone I'm glad I read this book, and it's the reason it has two stars rather than one.

Sadly this book goes nowhere. At all. Things happen. There are even plot resolutions. But they're so artfully hidden, so well-buried under that pile of prose that...more
There are some very extreme, polarized reviews about this one. Well, this book and I were just the right fit. Like meeting a new friend and feeling like you've always known each other.

It is a surreal story of one man's wake up call to life, a jarring process of self-redemption. Richard, the main man, the detached and forgetful wealthy workaholic, finds himself suddenly thrust into series of events and interactions with strangers that are almost too outlandish. But it all works, and LA is the per...more
Surprisingly effective and affecting novel about a 55-year-old divorced man who has become seriously untethered--from his son, from love, from people, from the world--and his unplanned-for quest to get his life back. A.M. Homes is generous and big-hearted with her characters, and though it's all slightly surreal (and takes place in Los Angeles and Santa Monica), she has discipline enough to never let it drift too far into symbolism-ville. Our hero, with the help of a movie star, rescues a horse...more
The third book in a row I've read about an older man's late-in-life crisis and reawakening--all three men were also (very hopelessly) in love with their exes--so maybe I'm not being entirely fair to it with a three-star rating. Honestly, this is my kind of beach read: A bit camp and a bit chicken-soup-for-the-yuppie-soul. I'd happily give it to a friend who needs a quick read while coming down from, like, Ulysses or something, but I don't think it will, as the Stephen King blurb on the back hope...more
This was such a quick read for me, due to the fact that i found it very hard to put it down.

The main character has cut himself off from the world. He works and exercises from home, and only has personal contact with his housemaid....

Until, he thinks hes having THE BIG ONE, which then takes him on this rollercoaster of interaction with the real world, and he begins to open up and befriends strangers, such as the movie star up the street, the famous seclusive writter, anhil the donut shop owner,...more
3.5 stars.

“This book will save your life” is the story of the fifty-five years old Richard who has not felt anything in over a decade and then all of a sudden all emotions return in the form of severe physical pain. After that, his journey of healing and awakening begins.

Reading this book felt like watching a 24 hours marathon of Woody Allen movies with some added extras, such as natural disasters, car racing and a saber-toothed cat.

Some of the situations and dialogues were so hilarious in thei...more
Une écriture très efficace et agréable, des moments un peu sur-réalistes dans une ambiance très américaine, mais au final, mis à part un bon moment de lecture, il ne reste pas grand chose à l'imagine de la vie du personnage principal.
Unique among its peers ! A study in contrasts and changing perspectives - totally captures the way Californians can (and do) incorporate perfect strangers into their lives .

Another reviewer commented on the dreamlike 'progress' of the the plot and the OTT imagery - I agree that surreal quality buoys the work immeasurably .
Marijn Woudstra
Such an optimistice book about a horrible and lonely man, who manages to change his lonely life into a life worth living. Or more specificly who manages to go with the flow into a new direction in his life. It's not that he actuallt does anything but he is able to let go of his old life. Very inspiring and hopeful. Loved it
I absolutely loved this book. The characters and plotlines are bordering on fantastical, but ultimately both incredibly insightful and believable. The book reminded me of Carl Hiaasen's style of novel. Really sad to have finished this - I could have kept reading and reading about Richard Novak and his life.
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A.M. Homes (first name Amy) is the author of the novels, This Book Will Save Your Life, Music For Torching, The End of Alice, In a Country of Mothers, and Jack, as well as the short-story collections, Things You Should Know and The Safety of Objects, the travel memoir, Los Angeles: People, Places and The Castle on the Hill, and the artist's book Appendix A: An Elaboration on the Novel the End of A...more
More about A.M. Homes...
May We Be Forgiven The End of Alice The Safety of Objects Music for Torching The Mistress's Daughter

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“Sometimes you can do things for others that you can't do for yourself.” 18 likes
“We’re all good when we want to be, otherwise we’re fucking animals. There’s no VIP room in reality, and there is no reality in this city. You can’t Google the answers. People talke about being on the ride of your life—THIS IS YOUR LIFE. Whatever you need to know, you already know. Imagine what it is to be in another country, another landscape—heat, insects, fear. Imagine watching someone right in front of you trip on a wire, step on a mine, blow their body to shreds, in mid-sentences, mid-cigarette. Imagine yourself splattered with human flesh. Imagine talking to that boy for the five minutes when he is profoundly conscious of the fact that he is not goingt to make it home. Imagine the difference between that and being in upstate New York, drinking beer, trying to get laid, and spending the summer as lifeguard at Lake George. Imagine zipping your friends into body bags. Tell me why anyone ever thought this was a good idea. How could anyone not be angry? You’d have to be insane.” --Nic Thompson” 8 likes
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