Book Review: Becoming by Laura Jane Williams

9:12 am

Laura Jane Williams - Becoming: Sex, Second Changes & Figuring Out Who the Hell I Am memoir

'Laura Jane Williams, you've done it again.' This is what I say every time I read a new blog post of Laura's, closing my laptop lid and having a good old think. The most recent time I said this was about an hour ago when I finished the final page of her debut book, Becoming. Gosh, that was a good book, and I honestly didn't expect any less from her.

I've been following Laura's blog, Superlatively Rude, for longer than I can estimate. I get all of her email alerts when she writes a new post and newsletters detailing what she's been enjoying over the previous weeks. I favourite her tweets (or whatever 'favouriting' is called now, 'liking' maybe?) and would certainly call myself a fan of her writing (but in a less cringey way, because we're all human). When I saw she had finally got the book deal she deserved, I hit 'preorder' right away. I have since learned how important preordering is for book sales so, preorder books you're excited about, kids! Honestly I hadn't preordered anything in my life other than new Harry Potter books and the second Arkham game (two years in advance, I may add, and then I cancelled two weeks before release because I had spent my whole student loan). I digress. 

The subtitle of Becoming is Sex, Second Chances, & Figuring Out Who the Hell I Am, which is a very good subtitle because it summarises what it's about a lot better than I could attempt. Now, despite what the tabloids are saying, this is not a 'sex memoir'. This is not a list of Laura's sexual exploits. They clearly didn't 'get' the book. This is the story of Laura's becoming - her journey from hurting, through celibacy, to clarity and understanding. When Laura's long-term boyfriend breaks up with her out of the blue and, very quickly, ends up dating (and marrying) her friend, she is left devestated and unsure of who she really is. Having grown up always with someone by her side, now being alone left her very in scary new territory. This is where our story begins, and it's a real rollercoaster.

We learn about Laura's sex life post-breakup in a lot of detail, but that's not what the book is about, and that's not why you should pick it up. You should pick it up to learn about her journey, one you may or may not personally relate to. I have never experienced anything like Laura experienced but it did not make it any less of an engaging or gripping read. She travels the world and through her words you can truly feel her life in Rome, and Paris, and America, surrounded by new people, sunshine, cityscapes, and nature. I'm a huge fan of books on people figuring out who they are (your good old YA coming-of-age tale or your feel-good memoir), and it was nice to read one that didn't always make you...feel good. There are a lot of strong and unpleasant emotions in this book but they are what make it that much more real.

As a side-note, another part of the experience of reading Laura's book that I loved is thinking every now and again 'hey, I remember a blog post about this happening!'. It was like we've all taken a journey together as one complicated, confused, but loving family.

Becoming: Sex, Second Chances, & Figuring Out Who the Hell I Am was released in hardback and ebook by Hodder & Stoughton on 2nd June 2016. Pick it up now, now, now! Oh, and that gorgeous cover art is by Anna Woodbine in the Hodder Art department. Look on her website and see all of the stunning covers you recognise. Honestly, she's done all of the good ones.

M x

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