Emily R. Austen
Gilda, a 20-something, atheist, lesbian, cannot stop ruminating about death. Gilda stumbles into an interview for a receptionist job at a Catholic church and becomes obsessed with her predecessor’s mysterious death.
Gilda, a twenty-something lesbian, cannot stop ruminating about death. Desperate for relief from her panicky mind and alienated from her repressive family, she responds to a flyer for free therapy at a local Catholic church, and finds herself being greeted by Father Jeff, who assumes she’s there for a job interview. Too embarrassed to correct him, Gilda is abruptly hired to replace the recently deceased receptionist Grace.
In between trying to memorize the lines to Catholic mass, hiding the fact that she has a new girlfriend, and erecting a dirty dish tower in her crumbling apartment, Gilda strikes up an email correspondence with Grace’s old friend. She can’t bear to ignore the kindly old woman, who has been trying to reach her friend through the church inbox, but she also can’t bring herself to break the bad news. Desperate, she begins impersonating Grace via email. But when the police discover suspicious circumstances surrounding Grace’s death, Gilda may have to finally reveal the truth of her mortifying existence.
Everybody in This Room Will Someday Be Dead is a debut novel about a struggling 27 year old trying to get by. If you get existential dread, you will get this book.
Emily Austin has a unique style in this book that I enjoyed. It really fit the characters and themes. While the tone tended to be serious, humor was sprinkled throughout. I also thought the protagonist, Gilda, was highly relatable as someone with a mental illness and I agree with so many of her thoughts.
Despite reading her internal thoughts and dialogue, I did not feel like I truly came to know Gilda. While understood her ruminations, fears, and anxiety, Austin did not spend time developing Gilda’s personality outside her mental illness. We are all more than our illnesses, no matter how they consume us.
While I loved reading about Gilda’s life and thoughts, I thought that Everybody in This Room Will Someday Be Dead lacked plot. It definitely was not written as a plot-driven book, which is fine. I appreciated the insight in this book; however, I just needed a bit more story. Do not let this stop you from reading it! This is totally my preference.
This book also reiterated how much easier it is to live in a country with universal healthcare. Not having to worry about affording healthcare should not be a luxury.
Overall, I liked Everybody in This Room Will Someday Be Dead. I would recommend it, but I do not think it is for everyone.
Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead
July 6, 2021