When I'm Gone

A Novel
Narrated by: Dan John Miller
Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
4 out of 5 stars (5,314 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Dear Luke,

First let me say - I love you...I didn't want to leave you....

Luke Richardson has returned home after burying Natalie, his beloved wife of sixteen years, ready to face the hard job of raising their three children alone. But there's something he's not prepared for - a blue envelope with his name scrawled across the front in Natalie's handwriting, waiting for him on the floor of their suburban Michigan home.

The letter inside, written on the first day of Natalie's cancer treatment a year ago, turns out to be the first of many. Luke is convinced they're genuine, but who is delivering them? As his obsession with the letters grows, Luke uncovers long-buried secrets that make him question everything he knew about his wife and their family. But the revelations also point the way toward a future where love goes on - in written words, in memories, and in the promises it's never too late to keep.

©2016 Emily Bleeker (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What listeners say about When I'm Gone

Average Customer Ratings
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Sheesh, at least do your research...

There is a lot about this book that isn't good, but I'm going to address only the part that really annoyed me.

The book is ostensibly set in Michigan, but it's clear in several ways that the author doesn't know her setting. A few things that I noticed could fall under the heading of nitpicky (the University of Michigan doesn't have a "quad," it has a Diag; a restaurant that is said to have windows doesn't, because it's in a basement), but the final straw was when a murderer was said to have narrowly avoided the death penalty. Yeah, by like 180 years. The state of Michigan has never put anyone to death, and was in fact the first English speaking government in the world to abolish the death penalty. As Michiganians we're either proud of that fact, or outraged by it, but we're rarely ignorant of it.

Why the author decided to set the book somewhere she didn't know is something I'm curious about. It would have been a richer story if it were in a place the author had a real feeling for. I understand the need to sometimes do your research on Google street view and Yelp, but you shouldn't do the whole book that way.

As for the death penalty thing, that's just sloppy research, sloppy writing, and sloppy editing.

142 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Father's poignant struggle to move forward after wife's death

After losing his wife to cancer, father of 3, Luke Richardson, is trying to find his way forward when suddenly he begins receiving letters from his deceased wife. At first a source of comfort, the letters later hint at secrets that make Luke wonder if he ever knew his wife at all.

As Luke unravels the mysteries in his wife's past, we learn more about the trauma in his own history. The novel is extremely well written, and the actor chosen for the audiobook narration did an excellent job conveying the myriad of emotions Luke goes through as he tells his story. I thoroughly enjoyed When I'm Gone and look forward to more from Emily Bleeker, but be forewarned: have a box of Kleenex on hand before you begin reading this one!

61 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Sad but slow

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I feel like the book reached a point where I felt like nothing was happening, events were still transpiring, they were just uneventful.

Any additional comments?

The story never truly engaged me. It had a sappy/Lifetime movie quality to it, which isn't something I really enjoy. I didn't hate it, I just felt indifferent.

27 people found this helpful

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Terrible! Watch a Hallmark Channel movie instead!

(Spoilers)
I became more and more irritated as this book went on. The way that Luke could go from mourning, loving husband to suddenly hating and distrusting his wife with zero “evidence” of an actual reason to do so. The anniversary bouquet scenes made me hate Luke, not for what he did years back, but for the fact that he so quickly made his wife of nearly 20 years some horrible villain, rewriting her as some sort of of vengeful beast. It was such crap. Why did he jump to so much hate and distrust? Why? Probably because of Annie, a character this book would have done better to have left out entirely or kept of the periphery. Not that Luke shouldn’t “move on” but because Annie is such an unlikable character that you could easily see where her increased involvement is why Luke suddenly views his wife as such a terrible human and distrusted her with no reason to do so. What a super best friend! The entire Annie and Brian storyline is unnecessary and distracting and dropped just as suddenly as it appears. Additionally it became glaringly clear at the fact that Luke is simply not an intelligent individual. I mean, you can see the entire Jessie storyline from the moment she is introduced. Between that and how long it takes him to see the Brian parts.... basically Luke is a moron who flits from one emotion to an opposite one for no reason. I’ve never had such disinterest in a main character’s well being before.
This could have been a great story- a loving husband receiving letters from his wife to help him through his grieving and learning more about her through these letters and where it leads. But between the absurd change of attitude from Luke and the writing that too often sounded better fit as a heavy handed Hallmark Channel movie this book was a massive waste of time.

As for performance, the narrator’s female voices were grating, sounding like a mocking of each character.

25 people found this helpful

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Loved this Story!

I so loved this story. It was beautiful. I downloaded it to listen to at work, and I also bought the Kindle version to read when I was at home. So well written, although a bit cheesey at some parts. I got teary at many parts, and at others I downright bawled. There are so many emotional moments, unexpected twists, and a bit of humor. I would definitely recommend this to anyone.

61 people found this helpful

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Truly beautiful story that keeps you guessing

My fiction genres of choice are all in the mystery/thriller category while this book is contemporary fiction and possibly chick lit. Whatever the genre, this old man finds it inspirational. When I'm Gone is a complex story driven by emotion and uncertainty/mystery. It is a story of love and grief, and ultimately a story of redemption and happiness delayed too long by well-intentioned but questionable personal decisions. When I'm Gone is a beautiful story of family.

Dan John Miller does a nice job of narration. Some listeners have complained that his narration is too unemotional. I disagree; the emotion is in the words and need not be expressed by the narrator's tone.

86 people found this helpful

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Captivating

I truly enjoyed this book. I started reading and found I couldn't find the time to read fast enough, so I purchased the audio and listened to the book straight through. Amazing story and characters. Suspenseful at times and oddly I did not figure out what would happen until the end.

The reason for only 4 stars on the performance, is based on the performer being male and the female voices where a bit odd.

20 people found this helpful

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Narration

This book was absolutely incredible! It hit very close to home as my 64 year old mother just passed away from pancreatic cancer; for that reason it was a little difficult for the content but I also listened too soon after her death.

The only dislike I had was the voice the narrator used when speaking as the character 'May'. I someone cringed when I would hear it. Overall, the other parts were well vocalized.

30 people found this helpful

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Sad but beautiful!

I didn't expect all the the emotion. It was a good read, loved that it was told from the mans viewpoint.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I loved the story

I loved the story! Well written!, I couldn't put it down! I highly recommend it

21 people found this helpful

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  • Nicola B
  • 09-07-17

Really enjoyable

This isn't the sort of book I usually really read. I tend to stick to crime, supernatural type stories. However I really did enjoy this book. I found myself listening at times I wouldn't normally. The story was interesting and different but it was easy listening. I like the narrator and bought into the characters. I would happily recommend this book as a good all round listen.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-25-18

Wow

This book was so sad at times funny at others but so well put together

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  • Kim (_booksarelove)
  • 10-03-16

Audiobook review: when I'm gone

Wow.
I really liked this book. It started out a little slow but towards the end there were just so many twists and turns that you didn't see coming and they were so brilliant!! This book was really well written and performed wonderfully. I really enjoyed listening to it!