Sunday, 8 February 2015

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler // Review

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves // Karen Joy Fowler // RRP £7.99

I hadn't heard of this book until my brother bought it for me as a Christmas present - I saw it had been nominated for the Man Booker prize, which I'd been learning about in my publishing class, and I automatically knew it would probably be really good. I had no idea how good it would be though. Also, I am reviewing this as part of my 2015 Book Challenge, as a book written by a female author!

The title doesn't give anything away, and the blurb is also pretty ambiguous so I didn't know what to expect as I delved into the story. It's told from the point of view of Rosemary, now in her forties but telling the story from different points in her lives: her college years and her early childhood, for the most part. I connected with Rosemary as a character immediately, probably because she describes herself as a child who would never shut up, which reminded me a lot of myself.

We are guided through Rosemary's family life, and introduced to her siblings (both of whom disappear at separate points in the novel) and her parents. Her father is a psychologist, which means the book is peppered with so many interesting snippets of information and references to experiments that I found so fascinating.

The book is written in such a way that creates so much empathy towards the characters, whilst being factually accurate where it needs to be, and ridiculously funny at times - then unreservedly heartbreaking at others. There is also, of course, a massive plot twist about a third of the way through; something that literally jolted me, and turned the whole story around, making me see everything with fresh eyes and adding a completely new layer to the book. A quick Google search will presumably tell you what said plot twist is, but I'm so glad I didn't know before I started reading it, and so I won't say what it is here ... dun dun dun.

Honestly, this novel is a damn work of art. I finished it within 3 days, and I never wanted to put it down. It explores the unique bond that siblings have, and what happens when that bond is severed. I'd recommend it to everyone.

Have any of you read this book? It's currently on offer on Amazon, so grab it ASAP. I'm always on the hunt for new book recommendations so if you have any, please let me know below or on Twitter: @katygilroyblog

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  1. I think I need to give this book another go, I stopped reading it after a few chapters as I couldn't get into it, but I've heard really good reviews! I'm curious as to what the plot twist is!

  2. I'll have to see if this is on audible, I do love a good plot twist!! xo