Book Review - We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

Title: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Author: Karen Joy Fowler

The problem I have with most modern literary fiction is its inability to capture the sense of wonder that genre fiction does early on. Added to this is the general pretentiousness that most of the narrators have (usually due to the author’s opinion being shoved down your throat) and it leaves me unable to finish many of the literary novels that I start.

So colour me surprised when I picked up this book and began reading. What started out as something that felt much like any other coming-of-age novel with broken families and stilted narrators quickly transformed into something a whole lot more.

The gist: The story picks up when our narrator is in college. She used to have a sister her age, and an older brother, but now she has neither. Something about her sister was a little unusual, though. The book jumps through time to tell the story in a roundabout way, having our narrator finally come to terms with her childhood and the effect it had on who she is today.

I implore you, if you’re interesting in reading this, don’t look up anything about the book online. Anything you read will spoil the surprise premise of the book, that has a much better impact when it blind sides you.

The writing is superb, written by the same author of the Jane Austin Book Club. She knows how to tease information in such a way that will leave you unable to put the book down to keep tearing through the pages.

All in all I would give the story 55 stars. I hope some of you enjoy reading this novel as much as I did, and will do when I re-read it in the years to come.


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