Five Minute Book Review: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves 

By Karen Joy Fowler

I had no intention of reading this book when it first appeared in book stores alongside The Shock of The Fall. I don’t know why, but the synopsis on the back of the book didn’t draw me in and I didn’t think of it again until someone on Instagram posted that they were reading it, but not really getting into it. I felt like I needed a challenging book to get my face stuck into.

To begin with, I didn’t enjoy the way the book was written. It’s one of those books which flits from present to past, but this book flits back to different ‘pasts’ all at once. I got used to it, but it did take quite a bit of concentration on my part.

we are all completely beside ourselves

We find out early on that the narrator, Rosemary, has a brother and a sister, both of whom disappear from her life in seemingly very different circumstances, when Rosemary was still a child. She reviews her life and these events from her adult perspective.

Rosemary also tells us that as a child, no one could shut her up. So much so that her father told her to ‘Skip the beginning. Start in the middle’ – and this is exactly what form this book takes. Nowadays, however, we find that Rosemary is introverted, uncompromisingly quiet and unnoticeable.

So, what happened to these three children? I guess you’d better read and find out…

Fortunately, I’d not read any reviews or spoilers before picking this up and so the second half of the book took me aback – in a really good way. One of the most unexpected and surreptitious ‘twists’ I’ve read in a while. Honestly, if you’re going to read this book, try and avoid any reviews that don’t have a clear *no spoilers* warning. I use Goodreads, which is pretty good for that.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and felt like it was a bit of a breath of fresh air. It tackles topics I’ve not read much about previously, and there’s something refreshing about Fowler’s writing.

What have you been reading recently? Do I need to add anything to my ‘to-read shelf’?

R xo

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9 thoughts on “Five Minute Book Review: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

  1. Sounds like something I’d like to get stuck into, even if it is just for the second half of the book. As for something to add to your ‘to read’ list, may I suggest Tana French. I’ve only recently found this author and am obsessed! I’ve a review on my blog (twoambookworm). Drop by and let me know what you think if you do read it!

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  2. Pingback: Five Minute Book Review: The Sudden Departure of the Frasers | chapter and circle

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