This is How We Are Human – Louise Beech

When the mother of an autistic young man hires a call girl to make him happy, three lives collide in unexpected and moving ways … changing everything. A devastatingly beautiful, rich and thought-provoking novel that will warm and break your heart…

‘One of the best writers of her generation’ John Marrs, author of The One

‘A brilliant premise, executed beautifully … such a moving, tender and unexpected read’ Catherine Isaac, author of Messy, Wonderful Us

‘I guarantee you will not read anything like it this year … you will fall in love with this book’ Miranda Dickinson, author of Our Story

‘Incredibly moving, gripping, and full of heart … The novel everyone will be talking about this year’ Gill Paul, author of The Secret Wife


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 … 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 – intertwine in unexpected ways – everything changes. For everyone.

A topical and moving drama about a mother’s love for her son, about getting it wrong when we think we know what’s best, about the lengths we go to care for family … to survive … This Is How We Are Human is a searching, rich and thought-provoking novel with an emotional core that will warm and break your heart.

About the Author:

Louise’s debut novel, How to be Brave, was a Guardian Readers’ pick in 2015 and a top ten bestseller on Amazon. The Mountain in my Shoe longlisted for the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize 2016. The Sunday Mirror called Maria in the Moon ‘quirky, darkly comic, original and heartfelt’. It was also a Must Read in the Sunday Express and a Book of the Year at LoveReadingUK. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was described as ‘engrossing and captivating’ by the Daily Express. It also shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year and longlisted for the Polari Prize 2019. Call Me Star Girl hit number one on Kobo. It also longlisted for the Not The Booker Prize and won the Best magazine Big Book Award 2019. This Is How We Are Human is out now.

My Review:

I’m a huge fan of Louise Beech both as a human being and as an author and was delighted to be invited on to the blogtour by Anne Cater and be able to SHOUT about this book to everyone.
When I interviewed Louise Beech on my first Tracy Talks To… back in December 2019 (link here) and she told me about this book I knew I would love it.  The whole premise and the way she described it just resonated with me and as soon as it popped up as a pre-order on Amazon I immediately bought it.
This is Louise’s 7th standalone novel and in my humble opinion her best so far and I almost read this in one sitting which is quite unusual for me.
This is How We Are Human is a beautifully written story of one mother’s determination to give her son everything he needs and desires at whatever cost (both emotionally, morally and financially).   Veronica is a widowed mother of Sebastian, a 20 year old high functioning autistic young man who loves swimming, eggs and really, really, really wants to have sex.  Veronica is a patient, determined and protective mother who loves her son and knows that despite her own moral thinking wants to ensure Sebastian experiences sex in a safe environment.
Violetta is a high class escort, who works part-time supplementing her income whilst training as a nurse.  She has huge financial commitments which the reader finds out about within the story and her situation is heart breaking to read so when she is approached by Veronica to “tutor” Sebastian having just been attacked, she reluctantly agrees and doesn’t for one moment think that her life will take this unexpected turn.
Meanwhile 20 year old Sebastian, lover of swimming, fried eggs and learning to be a brick layer is struggling to deal with his maturing body’s sexual urges despite his emotional immaturity.
I absolutely ADORED all three of these main characters and couldn’t get enough of them.  Veronica’s selfless and unconditional love for her son was so real and natural and I felt her pain and concern about how Sebastian was feeling and being treated by everyone.  Violetta proved to be the most loyal and dedicated daughter who would do anything to help her father and had to resort to working as an escort to provide him with everything he needed despite putting herself in danger and lovely, sweet Sebby, who simply says things as he sees them – direct, occasionally inappropriate, matter-of-factly and sometimes very funny who just wants to be loved for himself.
Louise has an incredible talent for bringing fictional characters to life in such clarity the reader can’t help caring about them as if they were actually human.  This is without doubt a wonderful, thought-provoking, uplifting and emotional book which I urge everyone to read.
5 big shiny stars from me.


‘Every now and then you read a book that takes your breath away. This is How We Are Human does just that … you feel from the first page to the last’ Liz Fenwick, author of The River Between Us

‘A writer of beautiful sentences, and they are in abundance. This sensitive subject is treated with the utmost care’ Nydia Hetherington, author of A Girl Made of Air

‘Such a complex and emotive book’ Claire King, author of The Night Rainbow

‘It had me gripped from the start and changed the way I see the world. Beautiful, bold and compelling  – another fearless story from Beech’ Katie Marsh, author of Unbreak Your Heart

‘A searching, rich and thought-provoking novel with an emotional core’ LoveReading 

‘This book is just what the world needs right now’ Fiona Mills, BBC

‘Oh, Sebastian, I’ll never forget him. Heart is always at the core of Louise’s books and this one is no exception’ Madeleine Black, author of Unbroken

‘What a brave and prejudice busting story this is … brava’ S. E. Lynes, author of Can You See Her

‘A convincing, bittersweet tale of misplaced kindness, a myriad types of vulnerability, and unexpected consequences … All the stars and more’ Carol Lovekin, author of Wild Spinning Girls

‘A tender, insightful read’ Michael J. Malone, author of A Song of Isolation

‘An exceptional book that will make you laugh, cry and feel better for having read it’ Audrey Davis, author of Lost in Translation

‘The most exquisite and moving story I have read in a very long time’ Book Review Café

‘I don’t know of another writer who portrays characters so true, flaws and all … mesmerising, the characters are beautiful but, more importantly, they’re REAL’ J. M. Hewitt, author of The Quiet Girls

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Find this book on Amazon