I was thrilled when I heard that the effervescent Laura Jane Williams was writing a book – a memoir, in fact – and even more excited when, a number of months later, I picked up Becoming : Sex, Second Chances, and Figuring Out Who the Hell I am from my local bookstore two days before its official release date.
Laura is a blogger I have followed for well over a year, and is one of the only writers I continually follow online. I chase down her work whenever she announces she has something new to share. As with many things, taste in blogs and online content changes; many blogs I used to follow avidly three years ago or more no longer make it into my web browser history. It’s the mark of a good writer – a relatable writer – when the blog grows alongside you and you find yourself reading it even when life has flipped upside down and things just aren’t the same.
I’ll add now that Laura has written a book before – her e-book, The Book of Brave, which I have yet to read but has been on my list for what feels like forever. She’s also just announced her new role as love columnist at Grazia, which means I’ll be buying that magazine religiously to hear about Laura’s take on single life in 2016. I’ve already read her first piece and boy was it just what I needed to read.
Laura’s blog, Superlatively Rude, is a breath of fresh air in a saturated blogosphere. Her candid, open tales of love, lust, loss and lubrication offer up a reading experience which feels very much like your best girl friend starting a conversation with some juicy stories over a cuppa, which ends with a life lesson and, often, an epiphany. Her tales are down-to-earth, raw and honest. Just my cup of tea.
Her new offering into the world of books is, I’m so pleased to say, not a disappointment. In fact, I devoured Becoming over the course of three days. Each chapter kept me hungry for more. There was no repetitiveness from her previous pieces – I felt like this was the story that all of her posts had been alluding to. The big life lesson. The real reason she is who she is today. Most importantly of all, however, was that she was still that same girl friend, telling me the story of her broken heart and all that ensued, over peppermint tea and a naughty slice of cake. Or perhaps, more suitably, some authentic Italian pasta, since so much of the action takes place in that beautiful country.
I believe I am her ideal target market. I am a similar age to her; my heart was also recently crumpled like a disappointing rough draft; my soul also lost and trying to find meaning.
In her book, Laura bravely pushes herself as far as possible – to Italy, to Geneva, and all the way to America. She goes from the extremes in seeking solace and satisfaction in the beds of many faceless men through meaningless sex, to almost-a-year-of celibacy. Laura is a woman of extremes and of passions. Although I am the polar opposite of her (cautious, careful, safe and rule-abiding) I still relate to her. I don’t need to go through the one-night-stands and awkward almost-dates with men in order to understand. This book still speaks directly to me and my broken heart, my fears, hopes and lost little soul.
My point is, you don’t need to be into the thrills and drama of bed-and-continent-hopping in order to understand what this book is about. Laura is the everywoman – it’s just she’s the one brave enough to publish it in a book with a bright pink, unmissable cover.
Laura’s writing has a beautiful normality about it. You know she’s not trying to be someone she’s not. She swears, she’s direct, she uses modern analogies, and she doesn’t scrimp on the detail. But it’s not a trashy piece of chick-lit – it’s not a dirty novelette, or an extra-long, self-indulgent blog post. I often found myself remembering that this was a real story. It really happened to her. And she came through the other side to become the absolute #Girlboss she is today.
Through Laura’s book, I found a manual – a ‘how-to’ guide for lost twenty, thirty and forty-somethings everywhere. For anyone whose heart has been crushed – who has been uncertain of their sense of self, or who has ever had an awfully embarrassing moment that haunts them for decades to come. This book is not just about Laura’s own becoming – which, it becomes evident, is continual and probably everlasting – but of my own. Utterly cliché, but utterly true.
One other thing I’d like to emphasise, though, is that this is not a sex book – as I have touched upon before. It is a book with sex in it. Sex features in Laura’s life, as it does in millions of others, and she’s not afraid to share the details – because it makes it so much more real, so much more relatable, so much more human, and so much more therapeutic. Laura doesn’t hide her promiscuous past – she embraces it as part of her becoming. It’s all part of the journey – just as much as her celibacy, her soul-searching, and her friendships.
Sure, I’m a little biased. I’m the book’s ideal target market, and I’m a big admirer of Laura’s work – but this book is brilliant in its own right too. I urge you to take a look and try on her words like a little black dress – they’re classy, timeless and will probably give you a confidence boost.
The chosen quote for the front of the book is from Daisy Buchanan: ‘If you’ve ever felt a little lost, I hope this book finds its way to you’. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes – I feel lost, the book found me, and now I can’t (and won’t) forget it.
And my favourite quote, that stuck with me long after I turned the final pages?
‘You don’t have to have a romance, to have a romantic life’
You can find Laura over on her blog, Superlatively Rude. You can buy her memoir, ‘Becoming: Sex, Second Chances, and Figuring Out Who the Hell I am’ from many online bookstores, and don’t forget to say hi to her on Twitter and Instagram too.