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Book Review: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

We Are All Completely Beside OurselvesAuthor: Karen Joy Fowler
Publisher: Serpent’s Tail
Published: June 19th 2014
Pages: 308
Format: Paperback
Source:: Library Copy
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon UK, The Book Depository

Meet the Cooke family. Our narrator is Rosemary Cooke. As a child, she never stopped talking; as a young woman, she has wrapped herself in silence: the silence of intentional forgetting, of protective cover. Something happened, something so awful she has buried it in the recesses of her mind.

Now her adored older brother is a fugitive, wanted by the FBI for domestic terrorism. And her once lively mother is a shell of her former self, her clever and imperious father now a distant, brooding man.

And Fern, Rosemary’s beloved sister, her accomplice in all their childhood mischief? Fern’s is a fate the family, in all their innocence, could never have imagined.

When Things

I only heard about this book through the Man Booker Prize but I was completely pulled in by the cover and blurb and thus decided that I wanted to read it. This is a decision I’m glad I made as I really enjoyed this book. While it took me a long time to get through and was a little literary for me in some places, I found myself hooked to the story, wanting to know so much more. It was a truly fascinating read that took me by surprise in the best possible way.

Go Wrong

What made this book so interesting and different was that it didn’t have a normal linear structure. The story starts at the end, goes to the middle then the beginning and back to the end. While that sounds confusing, in this book, it really worked. I loved how this story was told. It was captivating and was beautifully unpredictable. Of course, what made this work so well was the amazing plot. There was so much going on in this story. It was moving, and just so different from anything I’ve read. It’s hard to explain without ruining things, so really you should just read it.

You Must Try

It took me a bit of a while to warm to the main protagonist in this story. To me she seemed a bit odd at the start but I quickly changed my mind and found Rosemary to be an interesting and lovely character that I wanted to read more about. She was so strong, caring and loving but also just a little bit lost. It was perfect for this book. Karen Joy Fowler wroter her incredibly well, as well as all the other side characters. It is hard not to feel emotionally attached to many of the characters in this book as they are all so lovable!

To Fix Them

This is a book that was completely different to what I expected, which in turn just made it that much more enjoyable to read. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is a heart-warming, emotional rollarcoaster of a book that will definitely make you think. It is a story of love, finding yourself, and how we percieve the world. It is a truly marvellous novel that I found compelling and would recommend in a heartbeat. It may have had a few flaws but these were nothing in light of all the good pouring out of the pages. Read it.

Four Stars


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