This Book Will Save Your Life Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of This Book Will Save Your Life

The story is about Richard Novak, a wealthy man who lives a very isolated life in his sumptuous house in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles. Richard Novak is a very rich middle aged man from New York. He divorced his wife many years ago and he moved to Los Angeles. He lives alone and at some point he realizes that he hasn't left his house in months. He has a trainer, a nutritionist and a maid that are coming to his house every day. Other than that he has no human contact whatsoever.
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One day he experiences a great amount of pain and he thinks he is having a heart attack. He calls 911 and the paramedics are taking him to the emergency room. The doctor finds nothing wrong with him so he discharges Richard and allows him to go home.

On his way home, Richard gets out of the cab and goes to a doughnut shop. He hasn't touched a doughnut in years because the nutritionist told him that it will give him a heart attack but now he feels ready to try one. He meets Anhil, the shop owner. He is a friendly immigrant who dreams big and he inspires Richard to seek some more human contact.

When Richard arrives home he notices that the sinkhole near his house just got bigger and he gets scared and anxious. For the next weeks Richard will meet a desperate housewife in the supermarket and he will encourage her to seek some help and to be happier. He befriends his neighbor who is a famous writer and he rescues a kidnapped woman from the trunk of a car. Richard is coming to Anhil's shop almost every morning now and they talk and Richard eats a lot of doughnuts.

Th sinkhole threatens to engulf his house so he has to move in Malibu for a while so the hill can be reinforced and his house saved from disaster. He continues his mission of getting back into the world. He calls his wife and tries to reunite with his teenage son. He calls his parents and his brother.

One day a horse gets trapped in the sinkhole and Richard's wealthy neighbor rescues him by using his helicopter.   

Richard and his son get reunited and they go to Disneyland. Even if his son is 17 years old and Richard is scared they try to make up for the lost time and to be together for a while.
Best part of story, including ending: I liked the fact that Richard decided to get back into the world and to be there for his son.

Best scene in story: The scene of the horse rescue by helicopter is thrilling.

Opinion about the main character: I don't like the fact that he is a cold, lonely, rich guy but the fact that he decided to meet some people is good.

The review of this Book prepared by Andreea Lupei a Level 5 American Goldfinch scholar

Chapter Analysis of This Book Will Save Your Life

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Life of a profession:    -   "the rich" Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   lonliness Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   wealthy Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American) Unusual characteristics:    -   Extremely cynical or arrogant


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   5 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   California Misc setting    -   fancy mansion

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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A.M. Homes Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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