Louis & Louise by Julie Cohen
Published in: 2019
Reviewed by: Book Worm
This ARC was provided by Orion Publishing Group (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis from Goodreads: If you could look at one life in two different ways, what would you see?
Louis and Louise are separated by a single moment in time, a strike of chance that decided their future. The day they were born is when their story began.
In one, Louis David Alder is born a male.
In the other, Louise Dawn Alder is born a female.
Louis and Louise are the same in many ways – they have the same best friends, the same parents, the same dream of being a writer and leaving their hometown in Maine as soon as they can. But because of their gender, everything looks different. Certain things will happen in their lives to shape them, hurt them, build them back up again. But what will bring them back home?
Book Worm’s Thoughts: I love the premise of this book and I love the execution there were several moments when I felt myself tearing up and that ending what more could a reader want?
The book is told from 3 different viewpoints we have the non gender specific view of “Lou” who is both Louis and Louise at the moments in there lives where gender doesn’t matter but important events still occur like the moment of birth (very important that). Then you have the view of the male Louis and the female Louise.
Born on the same day to the same parents in the same papermill town in Maine Louis and Louise really do share one life. They have the same friends and the same dates will be significant to both of them but in different ways and in the end it is the same reason that will bring them both back home to Maine to revisit the past, to learn from their mistakes and to give and seek forgiveness.
The book tackles important issues about perception, about money, about entitlement, about small town life, about what it takes to make a family and most importantly the influence of gender on your whole life.
As well as having great characters the setting of small town Maine is really brought to life and is the butt of several affectionate jokes.
“That’s another way you can tell you’re in main: 70 per cent of radio stations, when you land on them, are playing either the Eagles of Bob Seger”
“Or Stephen King! He makes loads of money. And you’re from Maine, you’re halfway there right?”
“Maine front doors are for company, for salesmen and out-of-town guests. They have doorbells and knockers for strangers to announce their presence. The back door is for everyday coming and going, for family”
Then we have the touching side of the story:
“She smiles, and she’s the girl he’s known all his life, the girl who borrowed his favourite book and took care not to break the spine or crease the pages.”
“That’s the point of funerals, she supposes, much like the point of all the casseroles that have been turning up. They’re excuses for the offering of kindness. They’re meant to make the living feel less alone.”
Who would like this? I would recommend this to anyone who likes a good family story, anyone who enjoys a quirky storyline and anyone who likes stories about small town America and the class difference.
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