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Love love love. Read to the last page - it will move you in a big way.
A n unconventional coming of age story. I was struck by how the main character has a unique early childhood that weirdly resonated with my own. I don't know how Karen Joy Fowler did it. In a way, this is a novel about how our earliest childhood, even if we don't remember it (especially if we don't remember it?) shapes the adult we become.
What a terrific read! If only I could find more books with this level of creativity and humanity.
Fowler has an intriguing topic. And a wisecracking verbal style, antic characters and events, and starting the narrative "in the middle" while delaying revelations that are critical for the plot did engage me at the outset. However, all three of these characteristics of the book were so unrelenting and excessive -- so forced -- that they started wearing on my patience about mid-book. Very interesting but not completely satisfying.
Karen Joy Fowler is such a good writer! This book has wonderful characters and plot and raises important moral questions.
Great writing, big questions...just what you'd expect from a Booker finalist. A masterful revealing of the narrator's family story and how an experiment on an animal left lasting affects on the whole family. The novel compliments Colin McAdam's A Beautiful Truth (2013) which tells a version of this story from another point of view. Then there is Yann Martel's The High Mountains of Portugal (2016). All grapple with the big important question: what does it mean to be human.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is an incredibly intelligent and insightful novel. Several times it got me thinking about our relationships with others and with animals. The subject is well thought out and the research is abundantly clear. Overall, an enjoyable and quick read that may rely a bit too heavily on tricks.
This book is quirky and full of intelligence. It will give you all of the feelings! You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll probably be a better person after you've finished it. Recommended by Gennifer
I found this book to be depressing. First, it is about yet another dysfunctional family, and I find those books depressing. I must say this family is dysfunctional in a most unique way, and it may be worth your reading the book to find out exactly where this family went wrong. There are some other important issues raised in this book, but it is not uplifting--it is depressing. I was interested enough to read to the end, but I really did not enjoy this book.
The story begins in the middle, when Rosemary is a college student who hasn't seen her brother or sister for years. There are so many fascinating issues presented here. Rosemary’s father is a professor surrounded by graduate students, and none of them really think through the implications of their research. Rosemary, Lowell’s brother, is a fugitive because of his work with the Animal Liberation Front. This a strange and wonderful book that will stay with you for a while.
As others have noted, this book is read best with no previous information about it, so no spoilers here! I was just telling my co-worker how great it was, but also how it broke my heart and my eyes filled with tears and I got a lump in my throat. Wonderful sadness...lots about memory and family and how we see ourselves.
One sister, still at home with her parents, begins her story in the middle. Her brother and her sister have gone. She's going through adolescence and on to college. Slowly the story unfolds, worth the wait and quite a story. Pitch perfect. A winner of several awards, including the 2014 Man Booker short list. Highly recommended.
This is one of my favorite books that I have read recently. If you can avoid spoilers before reading it, you should do so. The novel has a wonderful narrator who begins telling her story by starting in the middle, a device that Fowler cleverly uses to introduce the characters and unfold the story before she drops a figurative bomb on the reader. A smart and exquisitely sad novel, highly recommended.
[2014 WINNER Pen/Faulkner Award] From the Man Booker site [short listed]: "As a child, Rosemary used to talk all the time. So much so that her parents used to tell her to start in the middle if she wanted to tell a story. Now Rosemary has just started college and she barely talks at all. And she definitely doesn’t talk about her family. So we're not going to tell you too much either: you'll have to find out for yourself what it is that makes her unhappy family unlike any other. Rosemary is now an only child, but she used to have a sister the same age as her, and an older brother. Both are now gone - vanished from her life. But there's something unique about Rosemary's sister, Fern. So now she's telling her story; a looping narrative that begins towards the end, and then goes back to the beginning. Twice". If you have studied/read any psychology, this plot will ring some bells.
For the first 2/3 of the book, I thought this may be the best novel I have ever read. Fowler is a heck of a story teller, and this is a heck of a story. In my opinion, a great author and a great comedian have something in common. They both point out things that you may never have noticed, but as soon as they are brought up, you think, "Yeah, that's exactly how it is." I almost feel like I should have course credit for a psychology class after finishing this book. My only criticism is that toward the end, I felt strongly that the author had an agenda in telling this story, and I felt a little manipulated. Still, it is an excellent, excellent book! It is far from a comedy, but there were observations from the narrator that made me laugh out loud.
Hmmm ... have to confess to feeling a bit ho-hum about this book, and that it didn't really measure up to all the rave reviews I had read about it. I found the way the story hopped backwards and forwards in time more than a little confusing. In the end I don't think I can really say that I enjoyed it, and I'd be hesitant to recommend it to anyone else.
This is a disturbing and thought-provoking book that highlights the trauma that can occur to both humans and animals in the name of scientific research. The narrator, Rosemary, reflects back on her childhood growing up with Fern, a chimpanzee, that became like a twin sister to her during a research study designed by her psychologist father. When Fern suddenly disappears from her life, at the age of five, Rosemary is devastated and, many years later, she sets out to uncover what actually happened to her beloved “sister”. Based on actual accounts of chimpanzees living with human families, the author gives a powerful and distressing picture of the unintended consequences of ill-considered research projects.
Entertaining at the time, but forgettable. You won't contemplate this one long after you've returned it to the library.
This is how good this book is. When my copy came in at the library, I realized that I had actually read it not long before and just didn't recognize the title. It didn't matter. I sat down and read the whole thing over in two sittings. Mesmerizing, unpredictable, with not a false note in it.
Easy to read, light, the characters remind me of those from a comic book; don't know if the reader is supposed to take this story seriously or not; reads more like porpaganda. Can't believe it was shortlisted for the Booker!
2014 Man Booker Prize nomiee