What if you grew up to realise that your father had used your childhood as an experiment?
Rosemary doesn’t talk very much, and about certain things she’s silent. She had a sister, Fern, her whirlwind other half, who vanished from her life in circumstances she wishes she could forget. And it’s been ten years since she last saw her beloved older brother Lowell.
Now at college, Rosemary starts to see that she can’t go forward without going back, back to the time when, aged five, she was sent away from home to her grandparents and returned to find Fern gone.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler is a novel that touches upon so many themes and issues, taking the reader through a range of emotions, and doing it all so well! From childhood and social interaction to family, humanity and scientific research, this novel makes the reader question many normally accepted aspects of modern life.
The very beginning of the novel seems quite uneventful but I felt that it soon gets into its stride. I hadn’t looked at any context surrounding this novel before I read it, as the cover states that there’s a twist and I didn’t want to ruin it for myself, which I’m glad about. I won’t give much away about this book as I feel like I enjoyed it more going into it ‘blind’, so to speak. This kind of makes me wonder if my book review is therefore a little pointless, but oh well!
I did get quite into the story but it wasn’t a case of ‘I CANNOT PUT THIS NOVEL DOWN!’, I just really enjoyed reading every wonderfully written sentence. There were sad parts and funny parts but the characters felt very real and the novel’s ideas seemed almost timeless. It’s not a crazily fast paced novel but moves along at the right tempo to keep you interested. I can certainly see why this was nominated for the Man Booker Prize 2014.
I would highly recommend reading this novel. From other reviews it seems you’ll either absolutely love it or you’ll feel a bit underwhelmed, but for me I thought it was a beautifully written, very deep multi-layered novel which I thoroughly enjoyed reading- just not quite 5 stars for me. Very close though!