Lou Who? is the honest and raw journey of a young woman battling to rediscover and redefine herself in a world that often makes us feel as if life ought to be a certain way. For centuries, Western women have strived towards certain traditional milestones--like pursuing marriage instead of seeking themselves out with honesty and love, neglecting their opportunities for growth in turn.
When Lou’s life in her native homeland of Scotland ends in divorce, her heart carries her across the Atlantic Ocean to Canada, with every artery of her being pulsing to recreate herself somewhere else. Vancouver, Canada becomes her new home, following a friend’s recommendation and some intensive Google Street Viewing, like an intuition asserting itself as the real deal.
What Lou expected to simply amount to moving on from her divorce, while making friends and settling into a new environment--where she becomes a stranger even to herself--evolves into facing demons from her childhood, battling physical and mental health issues, understanding her historical relationship to Vancouver, learning to see herself through new perspectives, and beginning her journey back into the dating scene.
This self-reflective memoir is about more than her experience in a new country: it details her discovery of selfhood, her personal health, her sexuality, her love for and growing connection to Mother Nature, her evolving perspectives on race and diversity, and ultimately her gratitude for this land she now calls home, which has returned her to the essence of herself.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 7 out of 10
Overall: 7.75 out of 10
Idea: While funny, powerful, frank, and interesting, Lou's story--especially the focus on dating--can become repetitive at times and slow down the narrative. Her interactions with friends, family, and coworkers are glossed over, which prohibits readers from seeing how these relationships also contribute to the strong sense of self and purpose she attains at the end of the memoir.
Prose/Style: Conversational and extremely personal, Lou's voice shines in this memoir. She's also self-deprecating and honestly self-assessing, which brings a nice emotional depth to her self-awakening and creates a strong picture of who she is. It also draws readers into the narrative and makes them root for her successes, both in romance and in life.
Originality: Lou shares her post-divorce romantic travails in a new country--the good and bad--with honesty and humor. While her romantic relationships compel with funny anecdotes and emotional break-ups, her growth through relationships with others aside from romantic partners gets short shrift.
Character Development/Execution: Lou's voice and personality are dominant, as they should be. Her characterization is fully formed and reveals all of her complexities, especially in regard to her sense of self and her romantic life. The supporting characters would benefit from more definition and depth. The story would be more emotionally engaging with a stronger sense of how her friends and family helped contribute to her journey of self-actualization.
Date Submitted: October 16, 2020