Monday, October 17, 2022

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle

Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars 
Pages: 320 pages
Published: July 2020

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle is about Hubert Bird, a Jamaican expat living in England. During the latter portion of his life, he finds himself a widow miles apart from his daughter who lives in Australia and just as far apart emotionally from his estranged son. However, Hubert has been lying by putting on false pretenses about his life - painting a picture of an active, senior lifestyle. However, when, by happenstance, he meets his neighbor, a young single mom named Ashleigh, Hubert’s lonely life is turned upside down and he gets a much more exciting life than he ever could have imagined. 

The thing I liked the most about this book is that it so relatable. I can’t think of a single person who hasn’t experienced a sense on loneliness at one point or another in his or her life, so the imagery that Gayle is able to develop through his prose is easily imagined. 

“It was a kiss that didn’t say goodby so much as hello.” 

“Extraordinary things can happen to ordinary people like you and me, but only if we open ourselves up enough to let them.” 
My only critiques about this book are the dialect in which Hubert spoke. I understand the need for the colloquial nature of Hubert’s conversation to make his Jamaican ethnicity seem more authentic. However, it seemed overdone and far-fetched that he would continually speak using “me” rather than “I” after having lived a successful life in England. Additionally, the author shows us that he knows the proper English way to speak, he just doesn’t, which seems lazy and contradictory to someone who worked so hard not only in his professional life but his romantic one with Joyce. Additionally, the reveal about Rose seems to come out of nowhere. I suppose this is a very real possibility, but it really didn’t flow in the book. It seemed like a last-minute Hail Mary to assist the book in closing. And finally, if I had my druthers, I’d rather the story had ended at chapter 49. I don’t really think the “Eighteen Months Later” epilogue was needed to complete the story.

Recommendation: I don’t think this book is about the story so much as it’s about the message it represents. It was published in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time where I suspect many people were experiencing some type of loneliness. However, the message is evergreen and can be appreciated at any time. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.


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