Tuesday, June 10, 2014

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

On the advice of a fellow librarian, I chose Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves as the June discussion book for the library's Tuesday/Thursday book discussion groups. It was an excellent book and an excellent choice for discussion.

I have not read any other books by this author but had certain preconceptions based on the reputation of The Jane Austen Book Club. My preconceptions proved untrue. This is an interesting, heartbreaking, deeply thoughtful book.

I generally don’t like a book that jumps around in time a lot, but Fowler did a good job of spinning out her tale, starting in the middle and going backwards and forwards as the story required it. The narrator, Rosemary, felt like a real person; at times I wondered if this book was semi-autobiographical (it’s not, at least not concerning the Big Reveal plot point). This is the story of two parents and their three children, and how the separation from one of those children affected the others for the rest of their lives. But that doesn't really get at the plot of of this book - really, you need to read it for yourself.

There are little passages throughout the book that are perfect touches. For example, on page 66: “Unfairness bothers children greatly. When I did finally get to see Star Wars, the whole movie was ruined for me by the fact that Luke and Han got a medal at the end and Chewbacca didn’t.”

I was thoroughly engaged by Rosemary, her story, and the information about animal research. This is not a black and white book; there are lots of gray areas. I highly recommend it.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is available at the Galesburg Public Library as a book and an audiobook on CD.

No comments:

Post a Comment