Oh my, did I love this book! All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle was such a lovely surprise. It is cute, quirky and endearing. The characters will worm their way into your heart and there is no way you will finish this book not being a huge Hubert Bird fan. Hubert is like so many of us all, used to solitude and dealing with life's hardships alone, but craving human connection. Follow him along as he embarks on a campaign to end loneliness. Those that loved Fredrik Backman's A Man Called Ove, will love All the Lonely People.
Week after week, Hubert Bird has regular phone calls with his daughter where he tells her about his active social life in London. When his daughter tells him she is coming for a visit, Hubert panics. The social life he painted to his daughter is a figment of his imagination. In reality, he is a lonely old man, in a country in immigrated to as a young Black man, missing his late wife and keeping company with his cat, Puss. Hubert must find friends, and find them fast, before his daughter finds out his life has been a charade.
Hubert Bird is officially added to my list of all-time favorite literary characters. He is similar to Ove in many ways. He's a bit of a curmudgeon, he has a cat, and he's generally ok with living life having zero interaction with any other human beings. Hubert has experienced a lot of hate in his life when he immigrated to London from Jamaica. He navigated an interracial marriage in the 1950's when people were quite vocal about their hate and racism. When Hubert starts venturing out into the world and opening himself up to developing friendships, it is a story that so many of us can relate to. Making friends is tough. And making friends when you are a bit set in your ways feels nearly impossible.
Hubert's story is sweet, endearing and warm hearted. I loved following him on his journey to end loneliness and found myself surprised along the way by a twist or two. This is one of those books that reminds you how important adult friendships are at all stages of life. Deep down, we all crave connection, and Hubert is no different from any of us. All the Lonely People is such a great book that put a smile on my face and, at times, brought tears to my eyes. You will feel all the feels with this one.
Those who are fans of A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman will adore this book. In some alternate universe, Ove and Hubert are sitting on a back patio, with a glass of iced tea, chatting about the weather. Even thinking of that image brings a smile to my face!
Content warnings: death of loved one, racism
"It was the same story, only with a different cast of characters. People from one land coming to another because of the lack of opportunities in their own, working all the hours in the sort of backbreaking jobs the natives didn't want to do. Day after day facing all manner of hostilities, wondering if they'd made a mistake leaving home."
"And that's the funny thing about life. Extraordinary things can happen to ordinary people like you and me, but only if we open ourselves up enough to let them."
Read if you liked:
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (click the title link to read my review)