Author : Louise Beech
Title : This Is How We Are Human
Pages : 320
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : April 10, 2021 (ebook)
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
Sebastian James Murphy is twenty years, six months and two days old. He loves swimming, fried eggs and Billy Ocean. Sebastian is autistic. And lonely.
Veronica wants her son Sebastian to be happy … she wants the world to accept him for who he is. She is also thinking about paying a professional to give him what he desperately wants.
Violetta is a high-class escort, who steps out into the night thinking only of money. Of her nursing degree. Paying for her dad’s care. Getting through the dark.
When these three lives collide – intertwine in unexpected ways – everything changes. For everyone.
| MY THOUGHTS |
One of these days, I will find the words to do one of Louise Beech’s books any justice whatsoever. Today, however, is once again not that day. All you need to know really is that basically she has outdone herself again and you should buy This Is How We Are Human right now. You can thank me later. That’s the short version of my review. For the longer version, you are welcome to read on but I won’t hold it against you at all if you skip right down to the bottom of the page for the purchase links. In fact, I highly recommend that option!
Now, dear reader, as someone who has two young family members with autism I must admit I was slightly wary about reading this novel. But I told myself that if anyone would treat this topic with the sensitivity it requires and deserves then it would be Louise. And I was right.
At 20 years, six months and two days Sebastian wants what everyone wants. He wants to meet a woman, have sex and know what love is. Veronica, Sebastian’s mother, wants what every mother wants. For her son to be happy. But is she going about things the right way? And then there’s Violetta, an escort who is just trying to survive a dark period in her life.
It’s remarkably easy to become completely invested in these characters’ lives. I can’t even begin to tell you which one of them got to me the most. They are all so vividly and realistically drawn that they are just impossible to forget. Something any reader of Louise Beech’s books will have become accustomed to by now. And Sebastian might just be one of the most memorable characters yet. For many reasons, it is entirely impossible not to like him. Not least because of his excellent taste in music.
This Is How We Are Human lays bare the ignorance and prejudice people like Sebastian and Veronica have to deal with on a daily basis. Throughout the story, I kept thinking about those two young men in my family who are on a very different autism level than Sebastian, taking this thought-provoking tale to a whole other level for me. Are they worse off because they miss out on so many of the experiences Sebastian has discovered and continues to discover? Or are they better off because they don’t realise what they’re missing?
What an incredibly amazing talent Louise Beech is. Each and every story she comes up with is emotional, insightful and powerful. It’s hard not to give too much away but these characters’ lives will collide and change in unexpected ways. This Is How We Are Human is full of love, heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time and ultimately unforgettable.
A story that most definitely needed to be told. This is how we learn from one another. This is how we are human. This is how we hopefully some day make society a welcoming, accepting and non-judgmental place for all. Buy it, read it, love it. Don’t forget the tissues!
This Is How We Are Human is available to buy in ebook format. The UK paperback will be published in June.