A Literary Delight: No Two Persons Book Review

by Theja Pk
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kindle showing no two persons by Erica bauermeister laying on top of poster that reads "just a girl who loves tattoos and books"

Last updated on February 6th, 2024

In this No Two Persons book review, we explore Erica Bauermeister’s compelling narrative that explores the power of a remarkable book and its profound resonance when it encounters a reader at the exact moment they need it most.

This is a love letter to anyone who loves to read.

The story is told through a series of short stories featuring 10 characters and has a full circle ending that will leave your heart feeling bittersweet once it’s over.

Usually, when I take a long time to read a book because I’m busy working or doing something else, I tend to lose interest in it. However, with No Two Persons, every time I came back to it, the insightful writing and rich characters pulled me back in without fail. It reminded me why I love reading so much.

This is easily one of my top reads of 2023, and I encourage you to give this one a try.

No Two Persons – Erica Bauermeister

5 out of 5
illustrated book cover of No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister showing paper cut outs of various characters from the book

GENRE: Literary Fiction
PUB DATE: May 2, 2023
TWs: grief, suicide


A story that explores the power of a remarkable book and its profound impact when it meets a reader precisely when they need it the most.

Characters
5 out of 5
Writing
5 out of 5
Plot
5 out of 5
Overall Enjoyment
5 out of 5
Table of contents

Synopsis

One book. Nine readers. Ten changed lives.

That was the beauty of books, wasn’t it? They took you places you didn’t know you needed to go…

Alice has always wanted to be a writer. Her talent is innate, but her stories remain safe and detached until a devastating event breaks her heart open, and she creates a stunning debut novel.

Her words, in turn, find their way to readers, from a teenager hiding her homelessness to a free diver pushing himself beyond endurance, an artist furious at the world around her, a bookseller in search of love, and a widower rent by grief.

Each one is drawn into Alice’s novel; each one discovers something different that alters their perspective and presents new pathways forward for their lives.

Together, their stories reveal how books can affect us in the most beautiful and unexpected of ways—and how we are all more closely connected to one another than we might think.

Characters

Let’s take a quick look at the characters we meet in this book…

  • Writer: whose painful past gives birth to the story – Theo – that changes everyone’s lives
  • Assistant: the new mother who’s struggling to keep up with the demands of a job and motherhood
  • Actor: who becomes an audiobook narrator to hide from the world that he’s spent his whole life trying to get in front of
  • Artist: who is desperate for some inspiration 
  • Diver: who pushes his physical limits to escape the fears that call to him on the surface 
  • Teenager: homeless and trying to create a better life for herself
  • Bookseller: who is caught in an unfulfilling relationship
  • Caretaker: who escapes to a ghost town to mourn the loss of his wife 
  • Coordinator: who works in the movie business as an intimacy coordinator but seems to lack the same intimacy in her own life
  • Agent: who has had a meaningful journey with books

The writer’s book, Theo, forever changed the lives of many people from different walks of life. I loved getting to know each character and seeing Theo through their eyes.

Each chapter was unique and interesting and kept me invested in everyone’s story. 

Over time, some of the characters’ stories overlapped, and it was delightful to see how they intertwined. Despite having many characters, I never felt overwhelmed because each chapter weaved its own thread, forming a beautiful story.

Writing

The writing in this piece is absolutely beautiful. It is intimate, thought-provoking, and pleasantly insightful. It reminds me of the writing by Ann Napolitano.

Like Napolitano, Bauermeister is able to convey a lot with just a few words, and I have always admired writers who can do that.

The writing is sharp and encourages you to see things from a new perspective. I have so many highlights from this book that I could make an entire blog post about it.

Here are some of my favorites (more can be found in the quotes section below):

  • Her language was people. His was breath, and even that he held inside himself.
  • a pause between … each … word—became a dripping faucet in the experience.
  • His idea of a nap was a semicolon at best, never a full stop; a paragraph break.

Plot

No Two Persons is heavily character-driven. So, for those who love character development like myself, there is no shortage of it.

As each character is introduced, more of Theo’s story is revealed. These revelations are tied into the individual stories of each character.

The pacing is perfect, with Theo’s revelations in sync with the characters’ journeys. And the full circle moment at the end was absolutely brilliant!

I didn’t want this book to end. But when it did, I was smiling from ear to ear because Bauermeister crafted such a comforting story that it felt like a warm hug.

Best Quotes

  • the ones who couldn’t look you in the eye. Sometimes it was because they were hiding things. Sometimes it was because they couldn’t.
  • She knew the lesson that moment taught you—that everything you believed was yours, all the cinnamon toast and hugs and campfires, was just something you’d visited, not something you were guaranteed as a generic human being, a special human child. No. You were the ant on the counter, heading for sugar. The mouse on the way to the cheese. Your time was short and real, and even if you survived, you would know now that there was always a hand, metaphorical or not, waiting above you.
  • If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen was another of his family’s sayings, and while there was genuine affection in the words, what they didn’t seem to understand was that not everyone liked to cook.

“Books spoke to specific people for specific reasons, and it had everything to do with where they were in their lives.”

  • In humans, our understanding of any one moment is made up of all the messages sent by our nerves and muscles and eyes and ears. It takes a while to get them all to the brain, so in the end our now is actually always about a half second after the fact.
  • Anger was a propulsive form of energy; that’s what made it so attractive. It was easier to use it to blast off, fly away, rather than stay and pick up the necessary weight of another’s point of view.
  • Anyone can love their mirror image; it’s the easiest thing in the world to love what you already know. But how do you love difference as if it’s a part of you?
  • Wasn’t that what marriages were, in the end? The ability to hear love in an exhalation, to see frustration in the twitch of a finger, forgiveness in a single letter of the alphabet.
  • ….. grief is not a stalker but a stowaway, always there and up for any journey.

Conclusion

No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister is a perfect blend of carefully crafted characters and impactful writing.

I highly recommend it to everyone, especially book lovers, as it captures how a single well-written story can move you.

This is undoubtedly one of my favorite reads this year and one of my top favorite books overall.

Enjoyed this No Two Person review? Then, be sure to add this book to your TBR. And if you have already read this book and have some thoughts to share, drop them in the comments below. I would love to hear them!

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