I’m thrilled to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for the brilliant and thought provoking This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech. Thank you to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this outstanding 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.
Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, This Is How We Are Human is a powerful, moving and thoughtful drama about a mother’s love for her son, about getting it wrong when we think we know what’s best, about the lengths we go to care for family and to survive.
“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.” 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.
Writing a review of a Louise Beech book is never easy, but this one is proving to be even more difficult than usual. Being the parent and carer of a young adult with a disability myself, I found this book to be an emotionally charged but extremely realistic and honest look at how it feels to see your baby transition from being an innocent child into a fully grown adult with all the same hopes, dreams and desires that we all have as we move on to this next stage in our lives.
Sebastian James Murphy is twenty years, six months and two days old. He’s a big, strong and beautiful young man. He’s also autistic and lonely. Veronica wants more than anything for her son to be happy and is considering paying someone to give Sebastian the one thing he desires: to have sex with a woman.
Violetta is a high class escort, working to get herself through her nursing degree and to pay for her much loved dad’s care. But when her life unexpectedly collides with Sebastian and Veronica, she has no idea that nothing will ever be the same again. For any of them.
As a parent all you ever want is for your child to be accepted for who they are and treated with kindness and respect, but as Louise Beech shows in This Is How We Are Human, life is very rarely that simple. The lack of understanding by others and the difficulties faced by Sebastian as he tries to come to terms with his awakening sexuality are beautifully and realistically portrayed, making my heart ache for both Sebastian and Veronica as she does everything she can to give her son the life experiences he so desperately craves.
This Is How We Are Human may be an uncomfortable read for some, but for me it was a beautifully written and eye opening look at life in all its complexities. It captures the reality of how society sees people with autism or other learning disabilities incredibly well and highlights the need for change. I related to Veronica on a personal level and completely understood where she was coming from when it came to her love for her son and how she only ever wanted what was best for him. All three main characters tugged at my heart strings, but it is Sebastian himself who is rightly the main focus of this story, with Louise Beech making sure his voice is heard loud and clear. Oh how I loved him and how my heart ached for him!
This Is How We Are Human is a stunning novel unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Louise Beech’s writing is astonishing in its authenticity and I can’t even begin to find the words to do this beautiful book justice, other than to say that I absolutely adored it! Louise Beech is never afraid to tackle difficult, often taboo, subjects and in doing so gives a voice to those most in need.
Moving, powerful and insightful, This Is How We Are Human is an outstanding book that I would highly recommend.
This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech is available to purchase now.
Thank you as always to Orenda Books for giving me the opportunity to read such meaningful and thought provoking books that have the ability to speak to me on a personal level and help me grow as a person.
Check out what these other lovely bloggers have to say about this book: