Orion Books 24th January 2019
In the moment of birth, Louis and Louise are the same person in two different lives. They are separated only by the sex announced by the doctor, and a final ‘e’.
- Louis David Alder is born male.
- Louise Dawn Alder is born 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.
Until their late teens, their lives run along near-identical tracks. But their father owns the mill that provides most of the town’s employment, and the father of their best friend is a mill worker. When the workers go on strike, battle lines are drawn up in the town that they and their friends try to ignore. On the night of their high school graduation, however both experience a life-changing, traumatic event that will cause both to leave their homes and send their lives in very different directions.
If you could look at one life in two different ways, what would you see?
Louis and Louise – look at the cover, perfect isn’t it? Jumps out at you…well it did for me, creating a bit of a buzz on twitter I was then lucky enough to be invited to be involved in this blog tour, needless to say I jumped at the chance! And I am so glad I did because I hugely enjoyed this original, entertaining read.
Basically this is 2 stories running parallel, the story of Louis and the story of Louise, 1 person, 1 life – that of a girl or that of a boy. Essentially the story is told in chapters titled Louis or Louise, although in some cases the story is the same and the chapter is titled – Louis & Louise – collectively known as Lou. We meet Lou when they receive news of their mother’s terminal illness which brings them back home to their small town in Maine. The story is then told backwards from this point, detailing the terrible circumstances that resulted in Lou leaving town immediately after graduation. And it is the point of leaving town where this novel is at its cleverest and most thought provoking. A dreadful situation occurs, but the way it is played out is determined by the gender of Lou, both scenarios are terrible and have far reaching outcomes but, writing this review on the same day as finishing the book I am still contemplating the situation for Louis and Louise.
Well! If that hasn’t tempted you to reading this book, I don’t know what will. Written in the third person narrative this was an engaging read, attention does need to be paid, especially early on to who you are reading about as there is potential for confusion, but this wasn’t particularly an issue. Whilst being a light piece of contemporary fiction this book tackles some weighty issues, not least gender, but also sexuality, unemployment and violence.
Highly recommended by me and special thanks to Tracey Fenton for inviting me to be part of this blog tour and Orion Books for providing me with a copy of the book. This is a blog tour so please share widely on social media to support the promotion of this book and check out what others are saying about this original read.