Book Review

Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead by Emily Austin

Genre | Contemporary Fiction
Page #s | 256
Publishing Date | July 2021

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.

Goodreads

I ADORED this book. It isn’t your stereotypical page turner, since it is about the deteriorating mental health of a young woman, but I couldn’t put it down and finished it in two days. It’s written with such honesty that I was entirely won over; the hope and heart that we finally get to enjoy feels well-earned and so satisfying.

Gilda is depressed, and as a result has no sense of self. She accepts what the people around her decide is true for her, which leads her (an atheist lesbian) to working at a church and dating a man. I’m finding it so hard to describe this book – it sounds like it would either lean into a wacky comedy vibe or else be a tranwreck. It’s neither of those things. Gilda is entirely sympathetic and relatable, and with every step she takes into losing herself, we as the readers are desperate to see her find and stand up for herself.

This is honestly going to be such a terrible review. I don’t know how to talk about this book! All I know is that I felt like it was written just for me, and I loved it. It isn’t about religion saving someone; instead, by working at the church and chatting with parishioners, Gilda realizes that everyone struggles, no matter what defenses they seem to have. It also isn’t about love saving someone, though the sweet moments with her girlfriend are bright spots in narrative. Instead, it’s about the slow slog toward health, and that might not sound intriguing but I have to say again that I loved it!!

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?

Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead is the perfect book for someone who appreciates the perspective one can get from staring into the darkest parts of our psyche.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Check out our Queer Lil Library for a full book list and links to reviews!

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