Reader Notes

This book is recommended reading for anyone who has an interest in exploring the topic of death with a touch of humor. 

Recommended Audience

This book is recommended for adults of all ages.

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Enter Now: Death Wins A Goldfish


When Brian Rea first began jotting down notes and drawings about the things Death (yes, Death, AKA The Grim Reaper) might do if given the time, little did he know the collection would become a book that would inspire so many to live their best lives. Poignant and humorous, Death Wins a Goldfish, Reflections from a Grim Reaper's Yearlong Sabbatical, encourages us to make the most of the big - and, more importantly, little - moments in our lives.

This richly and humorously illustrated book invites readers to take a peek at Death’s journal entries as he documents his mandatory sabbatical in the world of the living. From sky diving to online dating, Death is determined to try it all.

While many of us would jump at the chance to have an entire year off from our work, Death is hesitant; initially seeing no real benefit of his forced vacation. His coworkers, however, are eager to get him out the door, giving him a send off with cupcakes decorated with “Good-bye,” “Good luck,” and the less subtle “Go away.” Over the course of the next 12 months, Death records his adventures in simple but telling journal entries. He is often charmingly naïve and socially awkward, but a can-do attitude means nothing is off limits, including skiing, karaoke, going to college and online dating (that went as well as could be expected).

Brian Rea achieves what may have seemed unachievable. He humanizes Death, communicating expressive emotion without ever showing Death’s face. He makes death approachable and eliminates the taboo associated with talking about this topic. In fact, it’s hard not to talk about this book after reading it. You’ll want to pass it along to others who will likely want their own copy.

This book isn’t about death, rather it is about life. Don't let the quick read fool you; you'll walk away with insights and reflections that will help you live your best life.

Discussion Prompts

  1. Does having a sense of humor make the topic of death more approachable in some instances?
  2. Did the humanizing of death in the book make you more comfortable talking about death?
  3. Are there things that Death experienced that are on your own bucket list? What do you think holds you back from trying them?
  4. Death does a few things that some would consider risky, such as sky diving - but without fear, for obvious reasons. What role does fear play, do you think, in holding us back from living?
  5. How did reading this book make you think about your own mortality?

How do your answers to these questions compare to how the author Brian Rea responded? Find out when you listen to the Remembering A Life Podcast Episode, Death Wins A Goldfish: A Conversation With Author Brian Rea.

About the Reviewer

This book was read and reviewed by the Remembering A Life team.