*This review may contain small spoilers you might want to avoid before reading*
Firstly, I’m so sorry that there hasn’t been any book reviews recently! I’ve just started my second term at uni and everything got a bit hectic but things are now settling down and I have managed to find a good balance between uni and the blog. But that being said, I have a lot of books that I want to share with you all. Today, it’s all about Louis and Louise by Julie Cohen.
This is a book that I’ve been looking forward to for some time. The cover grabbed my attention straight away and the blurb even more. I ordered a copy straight away and gobbled it up in three days. It’s timely, pitch-perfect and very tender. This is a book everyone needs to read… so, what’s it all about exactly? Here’s the blurb:
ONE LIFE. LIVED TWICE.
Louis and Louise are the same person born in two different lives. They are separated only by the sex announced by the doctor and a final ‘e’.
They have the same best friends, the same red hair, the same dream of being a writer, the same excellent whistle. They both suffer one catastrophic night, with life-changing consequences.
Thirteen years later, they are both coming home.
A tender, insightful and timely novel about the things that bring us together – and those which separate us.
I haven’t read a book from Julie Cohen before but I love following her on social media and love her posts and got so excited to read this book. This is a tale of the same person living different lives – only separated by their gender. It took me a while to get into the book when I first started reading it but I was so immersed in Cohen’s writing. This is, for me, a very tender book. It’s full of heart, love, family, friendship and Cohen writes all of these (and more) so beautifully and effortlessly. One of my favourite aspects of the book is the relationship between Louis/Louise and their mother and father. I just thought those relationships were explored in a brilliant and interesting way. There’s a moment where Louise is brushing her mother’s hair and I found it really emotional. It felt so visceral as if I was a fly on the wall, watching them both. For me, Cohen really magnified into this family and their dynamics brilliantly – along with the town and their neighbours. I also really liked the exploration of class/social status in the book that has an effect for both Louis and Louise.
As I’ve said, this is a book that is just brilliant. It’s intimate, emotional and full of heart. I loved reading about Louis and Louise – their stories, their families, their friends, their lives. Cohen wrote it so brilliantly, especially in terms of the issue of sexual abuse, violence and death. It’s a clever idea that is executed brilliantly – it really is a book for our times in its themes and messages. I urge everyone to read it.
‘… we can’t decide that one thing happening controls everything else in our life. Every choice is the result of other choices, which are a result of choices before that. We can’t control what bodies we’re born with or how people treat us because of them. Maybe this world is similarly out of our control: small forces, large ones, one choice leading to another, a machine of causation beyond understanding.’
It’s a book, for me, that you immerse yourself in and are part of the character’s lives as it is just so intimate. I can’t wait to see what Cohen creates next and I’ve got Together on my TBR that I must get round to immediately…
Have you read Louis and Louise yet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!