This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech

My thanks to Anne Cater, and the publisher Orenda Books for inviting me to take part in this blog tour. I received a digital copy of the book, and this review forms my honest opinion.


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, and 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, and intertwine in unexpected ways, everything changes. For everyone.


This is the third book by Louise Beech I have read, and as much as I loved Call Me Star Girl and I Am Dust, This Is How We Are Human is my absolute favourite to date.

Sebastian is a young man, twenty years old, horny as heck, and autistic. His mother, Veronica is at her wits end, unsure what to do, but ultimately wanting the best for her son. And so she hires Violetta, a high class escort, to provide the necessary service. I love this kind of book. The type which explores an impossibly difficult situation in which a choice is made and the consequences play out. It causes the reader to also question themselves. What would they do in that situation? Why would they do that? It’s a confronting plot which addresses prejudices we may not have even considered ourselves to have.

Louise Beech exposes her characters beautifully, and I say exposes, because that’s very much what it feels like. She drills to their core, exploring every part, leaving no flaw unturned. But yet, I love them because they are so relatable too.

Sebastian is a triumph. The outlying perception would cast him as the underdog of the novel, and yet he is far from this. Yes, he is autistic, but he is also Sebastian. He is assured, he is himself and he shines out from the pages. There is an expectation that he is somehow the broken one, and whilst he certainly faces challenges, he is a long way from being broken, instead he becomes an anchor for the entire book.

Violetta (or to use her real name, Isabelle), meanwhile is another example of a character who is previously prejudged. Working as a high class escort as a means to pay for her fathers medical care all whilst studying for a nursing degree. Despite the bleak circumstances her character faces, her kindness is blindingly obvious and if Sebastian is the anchor, then she is the heart.

This Is How We Are Human is an entrancing read. I fell in love with both Sebastian and Isabelle. It’s a story filled with love and emotion, but it’s thematically complex and confronting to read too. Louise Beech is an incredible writer. Every novel I’ve read so far has been unique and beautifully written, she deserves to be a bestseller in my eyes.

This Is How We Are Human deals in shades; darkness binds with light in the most beautiful of ways creating an unforgettable cast of characters who between them form the most unusual and yet wonderful of bonds.

This is simply an exceptional novel.

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