We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler


Karen Joy Fowler's vibrant yellow book was THE novel of the London Underground, with acclaimed titles such as the Faulkner Award for Fiction under its belt. I took a look to see if it was worth the hype...

Let's have the blurb, shall we?
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.


The Blonde Bookworm review:

Fowler's novel has been widely acclaimed, with Stylist Magazine claiming it has 'one of the best twists in years'. I was expecting huge things of the novel, and as I settled into Rosemary's narrative, it was true that I was compelled by her mysterious past.

She has a complicated relationship with her mother and father, being raised in what effectively was a University laboratory, constantly under surveillance. She has clear love for her brother and sister, however a mysterious event leads to the disappearance of her sister, and then her brother leaves also.

Rosemary recounts these memories with a distressed narrative, tinged with hatred for her parents. The reader is intrigued by the events, desperate to know more...and then, you know.

And I WANTED to love it. I really wanted to. My heartbeat was thumping as I realised I was coming up for the big twist...and then, I was hugely underwhelmed, and confused.

As the novel continued, I was afraid to say my interest had waned, and I no longer cared about the outcome of the characters. It's super hard to explain without spoilers, but in my view, the novel lost its way once the twist had been revealed. As if it spent so long concealing this secret it didn't spend as much time focussing on the latter half of the novel.

Whilst I can certainly appreciate its popularity, it just didn't do it for this reader. And I always offer honesty here. Not one for me, but give it a try.

Read if you...
like family dramas, secrets, science experiments and big twists... (can't say much more without giving away!)

BLONDES OUT OF FIVE:

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