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We Are all Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler - Review

Sunday, December 3, 2017

I read this for my book club which is meeting on December 13th, and I can't wait to see what everyone else thinks about it as I think it'll be quite divisive among us! I really enjoyed the book and am giving it four out of five, but I can understand some of the lower rated reviews that I'd seen on Goodreads.

There's a twist to this book which some reviews give away, but I'm not going to. I think some people will guess from the beginning, but I utterly didn't, so when the reveal came on page 77 I was flabbergasted. I'm interested to see how many of my fellow book club members guessed it and whether that had an impact on their enjoyment of the book.

The novel takes place over a long span in the life of Rosemary. At the beginning, we understand she is in her forties, and looking back upon her life. She breaks the fourth wall by directly addressing the reader directly. She tells us about her early life when, aged five, she was sent to stay with grandparents for a week. When she returned, it was to a different home, with her mother, father, and brother Lowell, but without her sister Fern. We see her teenaged life, when Lowell had left the family home and the FBI came after him and Rosemary had to deal with her parents alone. We see Rosemary in college miles away from the family home when she meets Harlow, who disrupts her life in lots of ways.

The book has a lot of themes including family, memory, lies, deception, and what it means to be human. Yep, lots of lighthearted things like that!

I thoroughly enjoyed this, I think it's possibly the best book I've read in book club this year! I think next year I'll try to categorise them better on here so I can look them up at the end of the year.


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