‘Louis and Louise’ is the latest book by Julie Cohen.
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.
The latest story from Julie Cohen is a complex tale of family dynamics and relationships and is seen from a dual narrative of one child growing up and in one instance is female and in another is male and explores the issues and pressures of life whilst growing up in a small town and being part of a wealthy family.
The story flows in past and present tense and is seen through the eyes of Louise/Louis and reflects how differently their lives have turned out, dependent on their sexes, their decisions and the paths they have chosen in life. Louise has always wanted to be a writer, but she became a single mother at a young age and became a teacher instead giving up her dream to become an author. Meanwhile, Louis has enjoyed his success as an author, but has seen relationships fall apart around him. When both Louis and Louise return home because of their mother’s health, they have to face old ghosts and dredge up old memories.
I’ve really come to enjoy Julie’s writing and her previous book, ‘Together’ was such a sad story that left me in bits when I reached the final page.
This is a lovely story, it’s tenderly written and flows at a nice pace, gathering momentum with each turn. Both Louis and Louise are relatable and poignant characters, who both have secrets that they left behind in their small town, as the story progresses, we see them confront them and grow confident. The dual narrative from both characters is a clever twist to the story, which keeps the reader on their toes, as both aspects are so different to the sex.
Their relationships with parents are complicated and both escaped to get away from family conflicts, but I did find Louise’s story particularly hard as, she seemed to experience the most pressure and disappointment from the pair of them.
A story of hardship, forgiveness and the pressures of life, ‘Louis and Louise’ is an emotional and powerful story that examines the universal issues of life and how differently they can impact a person dependant on their gender.
You can buy ‘Louis and Louise’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.