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This Book Will Save Your Life | [A. M. Homes]

This Book Will Save Your Life

Richard Novak is a modern-day Everyman, a middle-aged divorce trading stocks out of his home. He has done such a good job getting his life under control that he needs no one, except his trainer, nutritionist, and housekeeper. He is functionally dead and doesn't even notice until two incidents (an attack of intense pain that lands him in the emergency room and the discovery of an expanding sinkhole outside his house) conspire to hurl him back into the world.
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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 modern-day Everyman, a middle-aged divorce trading stocks out of his home. He has done such a good job getting his life under control that he needs no one, except his trainer, nutritionist, and housekeeper. He is functionally dead and doesn't even notice until two incidents (an attack of intense pain that lands him in the emergency room and the discovery of an expanding sinkhole outside his house) conspire to hurl him back into the world.

On his way home from the hospital, Richard forms the first of many new relationships: He meets Anhil, the doughnut shop owner, an immigrant who dreams big. He finds a weeping housewife in the produce section of the supermarket, helps save a horse that has fallen into the sinkhole, daringly rescues a woman from the trunk of her kidnapper's car, and, after the sinkhole claims his house and he has to relocate to a Malibu rental, he befriends a reluctant counterculture icon. In the end, Richard is also brought back in closer touch with his family; his aging parents, his brilliant brother, the beloved ex-wife whom he still desires, and finally, before the story's breathtaking finale, with his estranged son Ben.

The promised land of Los Angeles, a surreal city of earthquakes, wildfires, mudslides, and feral Chihuahuas, is also very much a character in This Book Will Save Your Life. A vivid, revealing novel about compassion, transformation, and what can happen if you are willing to lose yourself and open up to the world around you, it should significantly broaden Homes' already substantial audience.

©2006 A.M. Homes; (P)2006 Penguin Audio and BBC Audiobooks America

What the Critics Say

"I think this brave story of a lost man's reconnection with the world could become a generational touchstone, like Catch-22, The Monkey Wrench Gang, or The Catcher in the Rye." (Stephen King)
"Homes is always riveting, but this juggernaut hits a higher mark with its aerodynamic prose, finely calibrated humor, and spiky characters....A novel of cinematic pizzazz that revitalizes our understanding of love and goodness." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (238 )
5 star
 (60)
4 star
 (63)
3 star
 (68)
2 star
 (22)
1 star
 (25)
Overall
3.7 (61 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (5)
Story
3.8 (61 )
5 star
 (21)
4 star
 (18)
3 star
 (15)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (5)
Performance
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  •  
    Robert K Charlotte, NC, USA 05-07-06
    Robert K Charlotte, NC, USA 05-07-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "awful, dreadful, silly, pretensious"

    This book will bore you to death. Don't waste a credit. Can't blame the narrator there's just so much he can do with this drivel.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Wailuku, HI, United States 12-15-14
    Kathleen Wailuku, HI, United States 12-15-14 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    510
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Oh no, I did it again!"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    It was a diversion while I was engaged in a boring task, although it was predictable and seemed written to be a movie. However, I had to grit my teeth at Scott Brick's narration. He has so little variation in characters' voices one must pay a lot of attention to know who's talking. And that's very hard to do, because almost. every. word. is. given. great. weight. as. if. it. is. conveying. something. of great. importance. It had been so long since I ordered a book narrated by him that I'd forgotten how annoying I find his work.


    Would you recommend This Book Will Save Your Life to your friends? Why or why not?

    Probably not. It isn't a great shakes as literature, and it's probably going to be in theaters soon anyway. I enjoyed the first Homes book I listened to, and thought I'd see if she had anything else, or I wouldn't have gotten this one.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Hire some actors to PERFORM the book, or see that Mr. Brick gets some voice lessons so he can do a better job narrating. I've read reviews saying they liked Mr. Brick's narration, so maybe he did this one earlier in his career, but frankly, I don't want to waste a credit again discovering that he hasn't improved.


    Do you think This Book Will Save Your Life needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No follow up. Would be too insipid.


    Any additional comments?

    I just hope I can remember NO MORE SCOTT BRICK when I order future books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Evan 08-12-13
    Evan 08-12-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "loved it"

    This book's narration and story were so interesting to me. Scott Brick ALWAYS rocks at telling stories, he could read a law book and I would sit on the edge of my seat in anticipation. The dry manner in which the characters interacted grew on me as I listened. It has many funny parts too. It's been a while since I listened to it so details escape me, but this one is still stuck in my head as one of my favorites because it was so different and refreshing. I wish Homes would write more books like this, maybe a series...don't think he has, if so I missed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eileen 01-02-09
    Eileen 01-02-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    69
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    46
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
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    Overall
    "Or Not?"

    Fire, flood, sinkhole, divorce and more of the problems we face in life and the joy that can come from encounters and connecting with others. This is a great book, it has action, humor romance, and life lessons all in an enjoyable story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Audrey Marlton, NJ, USA 12-30-08
    Audrey Marlton, NJ, USA 12-30-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
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    34
    14
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    0
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    "Good listen, lifesaver or not"

    Interesting story, complex characters and telling dialogue carry you through. An intriguing view of life: inside out and upside down. Will it save your life? Perhaps.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann New York, NY, United States 10-12-08
    Ann New York, NY, United States 10-12-08 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    2
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    0
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    Overall
    "What did I miss?"

    I had every reason to look forward to TBWSYL, and I really worked hard to like it. In fact, I listened TWICE to the first hour in the mistaken belief that I just wasn't paying enough attention. But by hour four, I took myself off the hook: reading time is too precious to waste on this silly and not at all funny or provocative or even interesting tale of a wandering mid-life California failure.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Solvang, CA, USA 01-06-09
    Patricia Solvang, CA, USA 01-06-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    35
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "very disappointing"

    found this book to be boring and disappointing based on the synopsis

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
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