Welcome to my stop on the blog tour today! I’m over the moon to share my review of Louis and Louise by Julie Cohen!
Louis and Louise
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.
Louis and Louise. Born to Peggy and Irving Alder. The same person but with one difference: their gender. They have the same ginger hair, the same beloved cuddly toy, the same hopes and dreams, the same friends and family. One Life, Told Twice, is what it says on the back of the book and the author creates characters that instantly capture the heart of the reader. I whipped through this in a single day. I was wholeheartedly invested in the characters. The author’s beautiful writing pinned me to the pages and I couldn’t look away, no matter how hard I tried.
Louise is an English literature teacher living in Brooklyn with a twelve-year-old daughter, Dana. She adores her daughter but life is not as she expected it to be. For years she dreamed of being an author, writing was all she ever wanted to do. Now though those stories, scrawled in notebooks, are bandoned under her bed. Her relationship with mother, Peggy, has become nearly nonexistent. A visit every year for Christmas but that’s it. Following a tragedy that scored a mark through her life and curbed old possibilities, they’re no longer the mother and daughter they used to be, and loneliness has crept into her busy life.
Louis is a published author with a home and a family. He managed to escape his old hometown of Casablanca as he always vowed to do but it hasn’t made him happy. Not a bit. His marriage is failing, his life is a poor imitation of what he thought it would be. The past, something he has tried to bury for so long, won’t lie dormant any longer and he is pulled back into the tragedy that altered him and all those around him.
Louis and Louise are affected by two very different tragedies and it was interesting to see how it defined the people they became. I loved every word of this poignant, raw and insightful book. There are some scenes that will definitely pull at your heart, perhaps even draw a tear to your eye but you’ll feel, somehow, different when you reach the end. This is a nuanced, tender portrait of one person with two possible lives.
A perceptive and honest exploration in the ways gender can define a person, of all the ways it can alter and shift someone’s life; the opportunities it might permit and the chances it might deny. The author writes the characters with a depth and honesty that is very moving. Such a wonderful book!
Raw. Emotional. Honest.
To purchase a copy of the book you can follow the links below:
About Julie Cohen
Julie Cohen grew up in the western mountains of Maine. Her house was just up the hill from the library and she spent many hours walking back and forth, her nose in a book. She studied English Literature at Brown University and Cambridge University and is a popular speaker and teacher of creative writing, including classes for The Guardian and Literature Wales. Her books have been translated into fifteen languages and have sold nearly a million copies; DEAR THING was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick. Julie lives in Berkshire with her husband, son and a terrier of dubious origin.
You can find Julie on Twitter: @julie_cohen or you can visit her website: http://www.julie-cohen.com.
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Huge thanks to Tracy Fenton and Orion for my review copy and blog tour invite!