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

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  8,025 Ratings  ·  953 Reviews
This work is short listed for the Richard & Judy Book Club 2007. It is an uplifting story set in Los Angeles about one man's effort to bring himself back to life. Richard is a modern day everyman; a middle-aged divorcee trading stocks out of his home. He has done such a good job getting his life under control that he needs no one. His life has slowed almost to a stands ...more
Paperback, 380 pages
Published February 5th 2007 by Granta (first published 2006)
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John Whyte i loved this book....i think u have 2 b at a certain point in u r life when u read it.

Community Reviews

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Oct 15, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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.
Sondra Wilson
Jun 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2012
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
Petra Eggs
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
Feb 04, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, fiction
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
Jun 06, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a delightfully weird book. At times it feels like watching this vast nervous breakdown unfold, but it can really get to you, make you experience the narrator's odd, diffuse discomfort. I'm not quite sure it's a book about depression, anxiety disorder or whatnot, though again you do get the distinct sense of malaise a depressive feels. And of course Homes can suddenly become side-splittingly funny. I could see why certain readers would find this particular book tiresome, but I really enjoyed ...more
Dec 04, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0-2011
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
Dec 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Sep 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Aug 31, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, audiblecom
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
James T Kelly
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Elusively Ella
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not the normal genre I read but a friend recommended it, so I branched out. I wasn't sure if I would like it, but what a talented author A.M. Homes is!!!

Richard Novak is distant and closed off from his family and friends. He's been floating through his work driven life until one day he simply can't ignore life anymore. His journey is both eye-opening and hilarious. This book is written from Richard's very unique perspective and might indeed save your life. I was so wrapped up in the story, I ac
Ron Charles
No, it won't. A.M. Homes's This Book Will Save Your Life can't even generate enough energy to save itself.

This tepid satire about modern America begins with Richard Novak, a wealthy day trader, having a panic attack and being rushed to the hospital with "incredible pain" all over his body: "He lay there realizing how thoroughly he'd removed himself from the world or obligations, how stupidly independent he'd become: he needed no one, knew no one, was not part of anyone's life. He'd so thoroughly
Aug 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Dera Weaver
I read this in a couple of sittings, but I'm on some kind of mad reading binge right now, about a book a day, so that may not mean much.

I liked it and it kept my interest for a good while, but only because I could almost never imagine what was coming next, certainly not because what came next was in any way organic or a necessary outcome of anything previous. The book seemed to become more frenetic and random as it neared the end, and I got a little impatient with it--I had realized by then tha
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is probably one of my favorite books that I've ever read. It's one that I am glad to own a physical copy of.

While this is the only book I've read of A.M. Homes, I can tell that she really understands people. Her observations and descriptions and even all of her characters and all the dialogue is just so perfect. Relatable. Eerily so.

This is a book that I could see myself re-reading at various points in my life, most specifically when I am going through a rough patch or feel out of touch w
Jul 31, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was really impressive: your meaningless existence, the sinkhole that steals your home, and the donuts that offer salvation. It's theological fiction.
Tanya Patrice
This book will not save your life - in fact, it may hasten the coming of the end of your life as you slowly die from boredom while reading this.
Jan 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stela by: Mircalla64

(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
Drawn to this book by the lovely donuts on the cover together with the promise that this book would save my life, I am left utterly disappointed. Who picks a title like this, very arrogant.

Living in Beverley Hills divorced Richard Novak the main charactor is a rich online investor who has no contact with the outside world and other than his housekeeper sees no one. The book shows him accepting that he has become a recluse and sets out on the path to living again, or save his life as the title s
Feb 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's true. The title, that is. I'm still alive. I might have died had I not read this book. You might have died had I not read this book. But this book won't save your life. By the way, what are you doing with that life? Yeah, you're online, reading about reading or searching for more to read or... Is it quiet? Can you feel your pulse? (Go ahead, I'll wait.) How did we get here?

That's a question our main character Richard asks himself as his life of routine and financial success is suddenly knoc
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, adult, 2013
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
Robert C.
Nov 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 01, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the kind of book that I'm not that sure of whether I liked it or not. I wasn't sure whether I should give it two stars (it was ok) or three (liked it). Maybe that's because I've never really read such kind of book.
Well, what is it about? The main character is Richard, and when he feels a huge pain in his chest, he calls the doctor and the ambulance comes to get him. The rest of the book is about his visits to doctors, his meeting with people (like, an actor who lives across the street,
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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...

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“Sometimes you can do things for others that you can't do for yourself.” 24 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” 11 likes
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