This is How We are Human by Louise Beech

A gripping and emotional look at being human

My rating:  5 out of 5


Sebastian has autism, and Veronica (his mother) is there to help him through life, as she always has. Isabelle has always been protected by her father, but he now needs her help.
3 very strong characters who are all doing the best they can, and when they meet the result is powerful – but is it right for all concerned?


The story is told from 3 perspectives: Isabelle who is an escort, as well as a trainee nurse. Sebastian with his need for a relationship of a very different kind to that his mother can give. Veronica who wants to do the best for Sebastian, but how can she know if she is making the right decisions?

As we follow Sebastian, Veronica and Isabelle through a few months of their lives, so we find ourselves looking into the very heart of life. The motives behind actions and the rawness of love which will push people to acts they never thought possible. There are uncomfortable truths, times of happiness, and plenty of real life grittiness. Throughout all there are people trying to do the best they can, for Sebastian in circumstances where they often feel alone. There are others who prefer to pretend that Sebastian’s needs can be ignored.

Though this is fiction I understand Louise Beech’s novel was inspired by real lives; certainly the characters come across as true in every sense. Indeed these inspiring friends were consulted on the dialogue and guided the author throughout her writing (source: Orenda Books media release). This reality (and the author’s skill!) makes this novel powerful, unforgettable and deeply moving. The music that Sebastian listens to adds to the story – I recommend readers take a moment to listen to the music (via YouTube perhaps?) as they progress through the book.

5*s from me as I was totally involved in the characters and aspects of life that were outside of my experience, but are very topical. I was keen to know how the book would end – after a shocking, gripping and emotional opening, but also didn’t want the to book ever finish. This is a book that I hope will be read, and talked about by many, as it reaches right into the heart of how we are human.

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