Title: Louis and Louise
Author: Julie Cohen
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?
The idea behind Louis and Louise is (fairly) simple but brilliant: what if a baby was born, but two different realities told that baby’s story, one where the baby was a boy – Louis – and one where the baby was a girl – Louise (but often also shortened to Louis). How would their lifes be different just because of their gender, because of an ‘e’ added or missing from the end of their name? This book explores that in a fantastic, fascinating way.
The story itself is in some ways a slow burner. Everyday, fairly normal aspects of both their lives are told as they grow up and become adults, and enter into relationships, but the fact that the reader gets to explore the two different gendered lives is, to me, fascinating. I love the little nuances that mark the way a woman’s life could be different to a man’s, even with the same parents and upbringing. I don’t want to give too much away but there were certain parts which really highlighted that, and made for brilliant reading.
This book really made me think, and I loved the story it weaved. There were some emotional parts and it definitely left me with a sense of poignancy, but I hugely enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone.
Many thanks to Orion for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.
Louis & Louise is out on 24th January in hardback – pre-order here.