A(nother) Year Of Orenda – This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech

Today its back to Mandie who is sharing her review of the latest book by Louise Beech, This Is How We Are Human. I think it’s safe to say we are both fans of Louise’s stunning writing, but if you want to know my thoughts on this very special book, you can find them here. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy
Release Date: 10 June 2021
Publisher: Orenda Books

About the Book

When the mother of an autistic young man hires a call girl to make him happy, three lives collide in unexpected and moving ways … changing everything. A devastatingly beautiful, rich and thought-provoking novel that will warm your heart.


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 … 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 – intertwine in unexpected ways – everything changes. For everyone.

A topical and moving 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 … to survive … This Is How We Are Human is a searching, rich and thought-provoking novel with an emotional core that will warm and break your heart.

Mandie’s Thoughts

What I love about any book written by Louise Beech is that it is like discovering an author for the very first time. All her books are uniquely different yet everyone of them highlights brilliantly the complexity of human emotions and introduces her readers to some truly memorable characters that are designed to draw you into their lives ensuring that you become invested in what happens to them.

Sebastian is autistic and at the age of twenty years, six months and two days has decided now is the time for him to have sex. His mother Veronica is not pleased by this turn of events as she doesn’t believe he is ready for this and knows that there are challenges for him in his quest as he is still not fully aware of the boundaries someone of his ages should not cross. When he makes plans to travel abroad to fulfil his needs she does something she thought she never would.. she employs an escort to befriend him and teach him about sex.

On the face of it you would have to wonder how a mother could do something like this but as you read on, you can see the struggle that Veronica has with her own conscience. Is she really doing what is best for Sebastian or is she ultimately doing this for her own ends to keep her son with her at all costs?

You can’t help but love Sebastian. He knows what he wants in his life, a life that is full of routine and black and white. I love his honesty and the way he says what he thinks, even if it not always the right thing to do. He knows that he is not always accepted for who he really is but dig under the surface and there is a truly amazing person who has so much to give.

This book is not just about Veronica and Sebastian and their relationship. We also get to see the story of “Violeta”, the escort employed to be with Sebastian. Her life is not as it seems, and it is her interactions with Sebastian that provide some of the most touching within the book as she reassessesher life and her feelings for him.

This Is How We Are Human is another stunning read that will have you rethinking what you believe you know about autism, and I am not sure if I should hug or thump Louise Beech for once again putting my head and my heart through the wringer once more.

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 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.

Books By Louise Beech

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