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Death: A Life

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,757 ratings  ·  336 reviews
The shocking new memoir from Death

At last, the mysterious, feared, and misunderstood being known only as “Death” talks frankly and unforgettably about his infinitely awful existence. Chronicling his abusive childhood, his near-fatal addiction to Life, his excruciating time in rehab, and the ultimate triumph of his true nature, this long-awaited autobiography finally reveal
Paperback, 250 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by Three Rivers Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,757 ratings  ·  336 reviews

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Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
2.5 "Surely you don't mean Shirley!!!" stars !

Dying is a very dull, dreary affair. And my advice
to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it.
-Somerset Maughan

I work with a very surly and sour woman and let's call her Shirley. Three weeks ago I could hear her guffawing and cackling down the hall from my office. This was highly unusual. I rarely hear her laugh and when she does it is at the most importune or inappropriate times.

I had to find out what brought such mirth to her. I went wit
Oct 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
What with the intoduction; I was a little worried that this would be another lesson in how I should have paid more attention in English Lit (omg murder me proper English, 25 cent words left and right, etc) But as I've gotten into the meat of the story, I've really started to enjoy it. So far, it's hilarious, and well written. While not completely dumbed down, it has a good flow that has me pouring over its pages. I was finished with this in no time. I'd suggest this book to anyone who enjoyed "G ...more
DNF @ 9% with zero stars given

I tried to get into this book, but it just didn't grab me. The author attempts to be witty and funny, but he falls flat.

This isn't a terrible book by any means, but I found it extremely tedious. The humor is not for everyone (I'm probably not in the target audience). It is almost vital that the reader know about the various mythologies, theologies, art, and literature. Without this knowledge going in, a lot will go over the reader's head.

I might try to read this a
Jun 23, 2017 added it
This is actually a fairly amusing book but I can't seem to get into it right now. I'm about a third of the way and have every intention of finishing but for now I'm going to put it away. I'll continue when I'm more in the mood for this type of story. ...more
Jul 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
The concept of this book is far better than its execution (no pun intended).

It starts out quite humorous, to the point of me laughing out loud, but eventually fades as the jokes become repetitive and the story not nearly as momentous as the beginning implies it to be. By the end, it was simply tedious.

This would have been a much better short story than full novel – a short story I would excitedly tell others to read, as opposed to a novel I can not really recommend to anyone.
Booklover Butterfly
Dec 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humorous
Death: A Life by George Pendle is a satirical novel pretending to be a memoir written by Death chronicling his life and work. Really though, it’s a parody of religion and creationism. Initially, I picked up Death: A Life because the concept of a memoir written by Death struck me as hilarious, but I wasn’t expecting it to be as well written and entertaining as it was. The character of Death was so much more complex and troubled than I ever imagined he would be, and the other characters were eithe ...more
Oct 07, 2011 rated it did not like it
A send up of all the lurid tell-all memoirs that hit the best-seller lists, this time with Death as the teller-all.

I wanted to like this book, I did. It is October after all, the perfect month to spend a little time with the Grim Reaper. Unfortunately, this book concentrated on being a joke first and a good story far second. Somehow, with all of time, creation and mythology behind him, Death failed to have anything to say. To save folks the trouble, here's his story: "I liked my job, then I didn
Caidyn (he/him/his)
Oct 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: humor
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy Hiester
Nov 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Death: A Life by George Pendle was so witty and pleasurable; I read it from start to finish in one sitting. I have lost many people this year including two six year olds (Neuroblastoma) so you may think it unusual that I picked a humor book about death after such a loss but after all the grief I needed to laugh through it. An account of Death's life, it made references that had me laugh out loud to the point that I had tears peeping out of my eyes. There is an educational opportunity in this boo ...more
Dec 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
If you've ever wondered how Death got to be the way It (He?) is, this is the book for you. From his dysfunctional family--he's the son of Satan and Sin--to his unconventional upbringing in Hell, from his introduction into the Garden of Eden to his time spent with the three horsemen of the Apocalypse, here is Death's own story. Not for the squeamish, not for the easily offended, but a fascinating take on the major mysteries of life. ...more
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Death: A Life is a memoir that chronicles the existence of Death, an extremely misunderstood entity. In here, he talks about what made him who is he today.

Death was born during the Dawn of Creation as the only son of Satan and Sin. The book starts off with the beginning of Death’s existence and life in Hell, his birthplace and childhood home. As it turns out, Death didn’t exactly have the best childhood. He was neglected by his father, who was never around. However, one day, Satan returns and b
Jun 03, 2009 rated it liked it
The best thing about this book is that it is a biting parody of the memoir genre. How many troubled childhoods and addiction recoveries do we have to read? This book tries to skewer them all. Death had a tough life; after all, he was the son of Satan and Sin. And, when he finally grows up, he is denied his one true love and becomes addicted to life, fo all things. Can't you just see the irony here?

The humor in this book is rather reminiscent of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, though not as
Sep 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: humor
Meh. I wanted to read this because it looked interesting and funny, but, in the end, only a few parts were interesting and a good 85% of the humor was of the variety that should've been followed by rim shots and groans. Half of the remaining humor that was more to my liking was subsumed in the captions to the pictures included within the text (e.g. "The Horses of the Apocalypse: Precious, Waterbiscuit, Blackie, and Mr. Jenkins" or "Cows: Unambitious"). ...more
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very honest autobiography. Death begins with his childhood experiences in Hell and His lost time in the void, takes you through the years of the biblical God's creation to the Greek and Roman god's and their take over, to the Egyptians and their obsession with Him, Death. He talks candidly of his love life and near ruin.

Could have been schmaltzy, but He maintains His dignity.

Really enjoyed this departure from my normal reading. (I usually read fiction!☻)
Amanda Peterson
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was an impulse buy from the library, but I had to buy it not only due to the title but also the summary. I had low expectations going in and I must say this is a darkly humorous story. From the bits between the author and death to certain moments in death’s past, this had me anxious to learn more about the character in this story. Dynamics both real and fictional are twisted on their heads which I found enjoyable. Anyway, I do think you should give it a read.
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-f, paranormal
I liked this one. It was a funny interpretation of Bible, religion and world history.
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this, but...... no.
The characters are all simple minded idiots with no depth and no reason to like them or care.
Great idea. Poor execution.
Dana Hammer
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is a very funny book. It lacks tension and plot, and reads more like a joke book, but it’s a very, very good joke book. It made me laugh out loud on a few occasions. Recommended if you need a laugh and a badly done history lesson.
Cameron Miller
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I personally loved this book. I didn't know what to expect at first, seeing how it was a suggestion from a pretty strange friend of mine. However, once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. It was, in one word, hilarious. It makes a great parody on the Christian religion without actually being offensive. I'm not Christian myself, but the girl that suggested it to me is. It's simply an interesting look on what Death must have experienced in his nearly infinite existence. And there are certai ...more
Feb 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
What a great holiday read! I am absolutely serious. It was a good book to enjoy without rushing. The memoir of the Death, the difficult childhood in Hell, parents - Sin and Satan who don't understand the poor offspring. The new project that God decided to start on Earth and all the consequences that Death has to pay for God's mistakes and inconsistencies. A lot of mythology, legends, philosophy. I like the idea: "that everyone was initially supposed to have gone to Heaven, but the place got so o ...more
Mary Manning
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
Meh. I liked his idea of Oscar Wilde's hell. But it was just too much of the same humor over and over again. I'd rather it have been written as a diary rather than an autobiography. There are also a lot of deaths that could have been brought to the forefront. And I think the clinic was just too stupid. I apologize for the flat-out review with no real substance but it reflects my feelings of the book. ...more
Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the funniest books I have ever read. It is Death's biography. It includes how Death found his calling, Death’s take on why unicorns died out (the answer – they were assholes), the truth behind Cain and Able (Able was an annoying nancy boy), and death’s addiction to life and his painful stint in rehab. This one is a LOLer. Besides if you read it on the bus, nobody sits next to you. ...more
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
One of the few books I have read lately where I have read it cover to cover without skipping to the end or dipping about in the middle. I was afraid it was going to be more "horror" oriented but found it extremely funny, witty. The angels are a hoot. Don't miss the picture captions. Too bad more "memoirs" are not like this. ...more
Apr 22, 2015 rated it liked it
At first I was elated at reading this book- so many puns it was like reading The Phantom Tollbooth for grown up! Then, the clever storyline seemed to be overwhelmed with the cleverness and my interest started to lag. I slugged it out because it really was rather witty, but it was a crawl to get to the finish line.
May 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: well-written
This book was the most hilarious, offensive, sacrilegious work of literature I've ever read. It's really smart, corny, philosophical, whimsical, and sometimes just plain dumb, (but in a good way). I recommend this to anyone who wants a good laugh and a good discussion afterward. ...more
Nov 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Now we finally know the truth about the highly misunderstood and reviled Death. His story is compelling and yes, even at time heartbreaking, but mostly just highly humorous. *smile* I got a lot a good chuckles out of this one!
Mar 02, 2010 rated it did not like it
What in the world? I know this book is supposed to be funny, but it is falling way short of the mark. Cleverness and wit are completely lost on Mr Pendle.
Jul 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humour
Quite possibly the funniest book I've read in a while. I laughed so hard milk came out of my nose. That's saying a lot since I haven't drank milk since 1978! ...more
May 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
I so wanted to like this but I ended up skim-reading most of it because it was just lacking. It could have been funny, sly, subtle, dark, and twisted. Mostly it was just bleh.
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a very, very funny book. I would recommend it to anyone who can handle a little tongue-in-cheek humor about creation, religion, and God.
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"As it was, my first days on Earth were somewhat anticlimactic. Mother and Father seemed so happy tempting and corrupting that I didn't want to interrupt them. But the fact was that I hadn't the slightest clue what to do with myself. I tried to convince cows to take over the world, to rampage across the fields slaughtering all in their wake, to start a new religion of udder worship, to build cities devoted to the consumption of grass, their aqueducts running with fresh milk. I even prepared a pictorial presentation of cows traveling into outer space aboard butter-powered space churns, but the cows seemed unconvinced, and soon returned to wondering how many stomachs they had. The current belief was seventeen. Cows:Unambitious.”
“Why, hello, Death. Long time no see. As you can see, I just couldn't stay away. The creeping things called out to Me. Anyway, what brings you here?- God” 4 likes
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