Book Review: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Childhood is a complicated time for everyone. The experiences, the feelings, the relations that we build at the time play a major role in deciding how we mold in the future. Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is a genuine reminder of this facet.

“I knew the winds of doom when they blew”. Despite being just five years old, Rosemary could understand the environment around her. She was sent away to her grandparent’s house at the age of five. All the while she was there all she could think was the one mistake that gave her this exile. When she finally came back to her parent’s house, she found her “twin sister”, Fern, gone away from her life forever.

Everything changed for her family after that. Her brother, Lowell, ran away from their house and later became a sinner in the eyes of the FBI. Rosemary’s mother went into depression and her dad became an addict of alcohol.

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From a child who didn’t know how to stay shut, Rosemary turned into an absolute silent one. She was chaffed at school, she had no friends, her only brother blamed her for causing the problems in her family before he abandoned her, and she herself lived with the guilt of pushing Fern away from their lives.

The best and the shocking part in the book comes on page 77 when it is disclosed that Fern was, in fact, a Chimpanzee. Rosemary’s dad made the two girls a part of a research program. From that point on, the book’s meaning will change for you.

Relationships between siblings are always unique. It’s full of sharing, love, a tad bit of jealousy and a lot of commitment to each other. But imagine a situation where the two siblings are two different biological beings.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves will make you laugh and it will make you sob like a baby. It will play with your mind and stay in your heart for a long time.

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In 2014, this book was shortlisted for the Man Book Prize. It is Karen Joy Fowler’s 10th novel and she had done full justice to it.

The weekend is around the corner, you know which book to pick up 😀

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