Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Orenda Books for my digital review copy. Do check out the banner at the bottom of this post to see all the fabulous book bloggers taking part in the tour and sharing their thoughts on the book.
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, and 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, and intertwine in unexpected ways, everything changes. For everyone.
Format: Paperback (300 pages) Publisher: Orenda Books
Publication date: 10th June 2021 Genre: Contemporary Fiction
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It takes an author of rare talent and emotional dexterity to tackle the story at the heart of This Is How We Are Human without it feeling insensitive, unrealistic or maudlin. Fortunately, this is Louise Beech we’re talking about who seems to have the unerring ability to draw a reader into a story so that they feel they actually know the characters.
And, as it happens, the story has personal meaning for Louise. As she explains, “Though This is How We Are Human is fiction, the premise was inspired by my friends, 20-year-old Sean, who is autistic, and his mum Fiona. Fiona had spoken to me about how much Sean longed to meet a girl and have sex. No one talks about this, she said – the difficulties navigating romance often faced by those on the spectrum. It ’s an issue that I wanted to explore. Fiona and Sean encouraged me and guided me through the book; Sean regularly consulted on dialogue, rightly insisting that his voice was heard, was strong, and was accurate. I cannot thank my extraordinary friends enough for their help and support.”
Sebastian is definitely a character I won’t forget in a hurry. After all, I know his precise age, his favourite music and how he likes his eggs cooked. And how could one not feel for his mother Veronica, who loves her ‘beautiful, complex, challenging, difficult, wonderful boy’ and just wants the best for him. But trying to do your best for someone you care about can get very complicated.
There were frequent occasions in the book when I felt sad for Sebastian and for Veronica. But, if anything, I felt saddest for the young woman we know as Violetta because of the many emotional and moral dilemmas she faces and because, at the point where it looks as if everything should start to go right for her, suddenly just the opposite looks likely.
If you’re looking for a reading experience that will encompass tears of sadness one moment and tears of joy the next – with a few chuckles in between – then This Is How To Be Human is the book for you. And although I’m not as clever as Sebastian, let me have a go…
Justin love with this latest book by Louise Beech
By the way, although This Is How To Be Human is not published in paperback until tomorrow, once you’ve grabbed yourself a copy there’s no need to wait until 7.30pm to start reading it (with or without goggles).
In three words: Heart-breaking, tender, heart-warming
Try something similar: Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech
About the Author
Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her 2019 novel Call Me Star Girl won Best magazine Book of the Year, and was followed by I Am Dust.
Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.