"You'll end up on dangerous ground if you reckon you'll love yourself only once another boy does."
The power of social media reigns supreme. Two weeks ago I got swept up in the excitement that was brewing on my twitter feed when Laura Jane Williams (blogger behind Superlatively Rude) released her first book, Becoming. A book about "sex, second chances, & figuring out who the hell I am."
Daisy Buchanan is quoted on the cover as saying, "If you've ever felt a little lost, I hope this book finds its way to you." I ordered a copy.
Using Waterstone's click and collect service, I had a leisurely five days to pick up my order. On the first of my five days the excited murmurings about Becoming had spread... to the tabloids. That same day I ran into Waterstones to get my copy. I did literally run, I'd parked on double yellows.
The Sun went with "Around the world in 80 lays" while The Daily Mail ran "Sexual Healing! Derby woman travels the world having steamy flings with strangers after her partner got engaged to her friend"
"50% mortified and 50% determined to own every last part of this," Laura posted one of the articles to her Instagram. The tabloids had missed the point.
Meanwhile back at home I poured a glass of wine and delved into Becoming, ready to find out what the real point was, unaware that a few days later I'd be telling Laura myself how much I loved her book.
In the book Laura is left heartbroken when her long term boyfriend and the man she thought she'd spend the rest of her life, with ends their relationship and starts a new one, with her friend! Devastated and utterly lost she sets about coming to terms with the heartbreak and figuring out what to do next.
Coping at first by drinking too much and partying, Laura 'flings herself' into meaningless one night stands and relationships as she tries to regain some of the control that she lost so suddenly.
Becoming is an honest account of her resolve to live life wildly and fully. It's so honest that at first I was shocked at how much is shared, but before I could reach for my smelling salts I was so involved in the book that I needed to know more and more.
I couldn't put it down, not even during the uncomfortable parts when I found myself willing her to tell the guy who told her 'to wear something short' to do one. Not because I'm holier than holy and not because I've any room to judge but because I know as Laura goes on to write, they aren't the missing piece that she's looking for.
If we were to write our truths, our real truths, how uncomfortable they all would be. If only we were brave enough to do it!
Sex sells and I can see why the tabloids had a field day but what a shame they glossed over the part when Laura realises something has to change. Maybe they'll publish a follow up article that includes her 12 month vow of celibacy, her time spent teaching, her time spent in an Italian convent motivating and inspiring others to live a true and fearless life. The part of Becoming where she learns to value herself.
Becoming is beautifully written and beautifully honest. There are twists and turns throughout and just as you get to the part where you think you know what's coming next, you realise you don't. Late at night I'd read to the end of the chapter then resolve to leave it for there for the day, but then I'd read just the first line of the next chapter.. then well sod it just that entire chapter. You can see where I'm going with this can't you?
As the book unfolds Laura isn't sure herself of how it will end and that really pulls you in.
"I was closer to home every time I placed another foot in front of the other - not entirely sure of the way, but knowing that I'd get there."
To me Becoming is a book about realising you who you are and having the courage to let that person out. Life can be tough until you learn that you are enough.
I was left thinking "I get that"
It's a book that stays with you for a little while afterwards. You'll mull it over and you'll relate it to your own life because it's a book that you really can. You'll consider getting a tattoo of a banana in a hat and if nothing else you'll learn that French girls do things differently.
So there I was, Becoming had been well and truly devoured in one weekend, and loved. In fact I wished I'd saved some of it for the train journey to a blogging event a couple of days later. A blogging event that none other than Laura Jane Williams herself walked into.
Queue the 'do I go over, do I not go over dilemma?'
I wimped out, then as I was queueing for my coat at the end of the event, there she was! In front of me in the queue! I seized the moment. I tapped Laura on the arm as if I was security about to remove her from the event.
Fangirling ensued. I told her I'd literally finished reading her book the day before, that I loved it and that it was a complete page turner. She was just as lovely as I'd imagined she would be. Friendly, warm and well just lovely.
We briefly chatted about the book. She asked how I'd come to find it and seemed genuinely pleased to chat. Then out of the blue I asked something along the lines of, "do you wonder if they've read it?"
As soon as the words were out of my mouth I regretted it. Well done me on missing the point. After all this time, after one almighty journey of self discovery, after finding her place and value in life, I had to go and ask about the one thing that didn't really matter.
She replied, still lovely, "that she really wouldn't know as they're not in touch." Which is the obvious answer and why I should never have asked the question. Lack of tact aside, the ending doesn't change based on whether 'they' might or might not have read Becoming. They're two characters that won't make the cut for any books of Laura's in the future, and for no reason other than they're no longer a part of the story.
If this had been my story of finding a way back from heartbreak, I couldn't think of a better way to conclude it than by writing my own happy ending and having it published!!
You can pick up a copy of Becoming at Amazon here ... here