Louis and Louise is a powerful novel by Julie Cohen, the bestselling author and popular speaker.
As a woman, have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you’d been born a man or vice versa? This book explores both possibilities.
Louis and Louise Alder, born on the 8th September 1978 to Peggy and Irving Alder of Casablanca, Maine, USA, is the same person in two different lives.
Their Mother, Peggy, is best friends with Mary Phelps, who has fraternal twins, Allie and Benny, who are six months old when Louise/Louis is born. Peggy’s husband, Donnie, works on the machines at the paper mill, which is owned and run by Irving’s father and was founded by his Great-Grandfather in 1862.
As each of them grow-up, they have the same best friends in Allie and Benny. They both have red hair, dreams of becoming a writer and the same piercing whistle.
At the age of eighteen, on the night of their high school graduation, they both suffer a life-changing incident and leave Casablanca.
Thirteen years later, they are coming home to look after their dying Mother.
This insightful and beautifully written novel raises questions regarding the complex issues of gender identity and fluidity. Our biological differences create a set of social expectations that define our behaviour as men or women. The blurring of the edges of these definitions can create ambiguity that may frighten or excite. It may lead to consequences beyond our control to the attainment of great joy or unbearable sorrow.
Also examined are the issues of wealth and status in a small town and domestic concerns, whether loving or abusive and how these effect the whole community.
It is a must read for 2019.
Louis and Louise is available in paperback and hardback
About Julie Cohen
Julie Cohen grew up in the western mountains of Maine. Her house was just up the hill from the library and she spent many hours walking back and forth, her nose in a book. She studied English Literature at Brown University, earning a summa cum laude degree with honours in English. She moved to the UK to pursue a postgraduate degree in English Literature at the University of Reading and this was followed by a career teaching English at secondary level. She is a popular speaker and teacher of creative writing, including classes for The Guardian and Literature Wales. She has written twenty books, including the Richard and Judy Book Club pick Dear Thing. She lives in Berkshire with her husband, a guitar tech for rock bands, their son and a terrier of dubious origin, where she writes full time.