Book Review: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

image– Karen Joy Fowler

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.

My thoughts:
I went into this book not really knowing much about it, and boy am I glad! There’s a huge twist to this book which I was not expecting, and it just hooked me immediately. At the back there are book group discussion questions and it is mentioned that some people already know the twist before reading. I feel like had I known that, it would have ruined it a little. I was amazed that I didn’t pick up on any hints and it really sort of gave everything I’d just read a new meaning. I loved that. Some parts were a little slow, admittedly, but everything just flowed together so nicely that I just got on with reading.

So we’re following Rosemary, and she tells the story in a different way to usual. We begin in the middle of her life before going back to her childhood and to the future. The book was split into 6 parts, with each section having the chapters start from 1 again. Really strange, but I loved it!

I struggling to write this review because I really don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t a clue about the storyline. Because of this, there’s one thing that I’m definitely not mentioning, though it was basically what the whole book revolved around. I will say that I loved the science theme of the book, and I was actually really happy when I read the author acknowledgements at the back because I thought it really helped us to see how the book came about. The way it is written, you could believe that it is real. In fact, a couple of times I actually checked the back cover to make sure it did say fiction, and not non-fiction! It just seemed so realistic, and I loved how real life scientists were mentioned.

This book was just definitely for me, and I can’t believe I picked it up on a whim because it was part of the Waterstones book club picks and on the buy one get one half price offer! Brilliant.

I hope I’ve intrigued you enough to go pick this book up… I loved it! Also, isn’t the cover beautiful!

My Rating – To see my book review rating guide click here.

*Thanks to Bookbridgr for the review copy!