Title: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Author: Karen Joy Fowler
Rating: 2 Stars
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.
Before I get started on my review of this book, I would just like to remind everyone that this is my opinion and I wouldn’t be much of a book blogger if I didn’t review books I didn’t enjoy. That being said, I did not enjoy this book. I am so pleased I borrowed it from the library so I can return it as soon as possible.
It was unique? There were certainly parts of this book that were intriguing and interesting. I thought the perspective of the main character was interesting and good who you didn’t quite know what was going to happen.
One thing I do not understand is the ‘big plot twist’. I was told that it was a mind blowing plot twist and would just rock my world but I have a few issues with it. One, it was revealed in the first 70 pages. You barely even got connected to the characters before you knew the big twist and, as a reader of many books with BIG twists, this was such an anti-climax. I was really disappointed that I got to the end and found out that was it.
I also didn’t feel a deep connection to any of the characters. The book ended with nothing really explained. You didn’t know more about the sister, or the brother or anything really. It just – ended. It was really dissatisfying as you got to the end and it was just over. No feeling except rage for wasting your time. I was really mad because I felt mislead about it all!
This book talks very much about monkeys and evolution and being a non-believer about that stuff, I was also very frustrated. I think it’s really horrible to mess with your children’s mind for the sake of science too so really weird.
Not interesting per se, but I found it intriguing that I felt really off put the moment I picked up this book. I felt sick about reading it and I should have realised this was a sign that I should have put the book down. I hate leaving books unfinished though so I persevered. Thankfully it was not a long book, so I managed to read it in a few days.
Recommended for: Contemporary, adult fiction lovers? I don’t even know.
Quotes (Spoiler Free):
“When I run the world, librarians will be exempt from tragedy. Even their smaller sorrows will last only for as long as you can take out a book.”
“Language does this to our memories–simplifies, solidifies, codifies, mummifies. An oft-told story is like a photograph in a family album; eventually, it replaces the moment it was meant to capture.”
This book was recommended to be by a work colleague and I love getting recommendations. I think it is awesome how people’s likes and dislikes about reading can be so different and I just love that I have the opportunity to share. If you have read this book, let me know what you thought of it! I’d be intrigued to hear.
See you next time!