Friday, November 3, 2017

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Title: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Author: Karen Joy Fowler
Publication Date: 5/30/2013
Pages: 321
How I Found It: From this list of books with unreliable narrators
Date Completed: 10/24/17

Summary: The Cooke family has three children: twins Rosemary and Fern and their older brother. Rosemary shares their story.

What I Thought: I went into this book completely blind as to its plot. That's what was recommended and I recommend the same for you. Basically, this is a story about family and sibling relationships and how those within a family can live the same experiences very differently. It's about what it means to be a member of a family and how families fall apart and stay together. You don't need to know more than that. In fact, the fewer assumptions you have about the Cooke family going in, the better.

Ok, so, go read the book and come back and let's talk...

Did you read it? Great. Now we can talk about how the Cooke family raised a chimpanzee as a twin to their daughter. Woah. That reveal caught me so off guard. I was not expecting it at all. I had realized there was something definitely different about the Cooke family, but I had yet to put my finger on it. I was definitely not expecting the elusive Fern to be an ape. 

That element definitely sets the book apart. Fowler throws the ultimate twist early on in the book and you cannot help but keep reading. Though I didn't find the rest of the book particularly amazing (it was good, not great), that moment kept my momentum up for the rest of the novel.

What I said at the beginning is true. This book is about family and familial relationships. Even when one of those family members is a chimp. While the plot is good enough, Fowler's exploration of those ideas is what really kept me engaged. It's an interesting book, no doubt.

Quote I Loved: "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." 

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Unlikely
If You Liked This, Try: The Nix / The Language of Flowers / Fates and Furies

A Reduced Review: A unique book about family and what it means to be a family member. The less you know about it before reading, the better!

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