We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves From the New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club the story of an American family middle class in middle America ordinary in every way but one But that exception is the beatin

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club, the story of an American family, middle class in middle America, ordinary in every way but one But that exception is the beating heart of this extraordinary novel Meet the Cooke family Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and our narrator, Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle She hFrom the New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club, the story of an American family, middle class in middle America, ordinary in every way but one But that exception is the beating heart of this extraordinary novel Meet the Cooke family Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and our narrator, Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle She has her reasons I spent the first eighteen years of my life defined by this one fact that I was raised with a chimpanzee, she tells us It s never going to be the first thing I share with someone I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren t thinking of her as my sister But until Fern s expulsion, I d scarcely known a moment alone She was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half, and I loved her as a sister Rosemary was not yet six when Fern was removed Over the years, she s managed to block a lot of memories She s smart, vulnerable, innocent, and culpable With some guile, she guides us through the darkness, penetrating secrets and unearthing memories, leading us deeper into the mystery she has dangled before us from the start Stripping off the protective masks that have hidden truths too painful to acknowledge, in the end, Rosemary truly is for remembrance.

  • Unlimited We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - by Karen Joy Fowler
    339 Karen Joy Fowler
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

  1. I was born in Bloomington, Indiana I was due on Valentine s Day but arrived a week early my mother blamed this on a really exciting IU basketball game My father was a psychologist at the University, but not that kind of psychologist He studied animal behavior, and especially learning He ran rats through mazes My mother was a polio survivor, a schoolteacher, and a pioneer in the co operative nursery school movement Along with basketball, my family loved books The day I got my first library card there was a special dinner to celebrate And before I could read myself, I remember my father reading The Iliad to me, although really he was reading it to my older brother, I just got to be there A shocking book And I remember Mary Poppins and Winnie the Pooh in my father s voice and a bunch of other things that weren t movies yet My parents strongly disapproved of the Disney version of things Pooh believed in a spoonful of honey, but Mary Poppins did not.I have great memories of Bloomington Our block was packed with kids and we played enormous games that covered whole blocks of territory, with ten kids to a side One of my childhood friends was Theodore Deppe, who s now an outstanding poet I planned to grow up to be a dog trainer myself.Both my parents were raised in southern California and so regarded our time in Indiana as an exile When I was 11 years old my father was offered a job with Encyclopedia Britannica that necessitated our moving to Palo Alto, California My parents were thrilled to be coming back My older brother, for reasons that escape me, was equally pleased I was devastated.Palo Alto was much sophisticated than Bloomington At recess in Bloomington we played baseball, skipped rope, played jacks or marbles depending on the season In Palo Alto girls my age were already setting their hair, listening to the radio, talking about boys I considered it a sad trade The best thing about the sixth grade was that my teacher, Miss Sarzin, read The Hobbit to us.After reading many books, I graduated from Palo Alto High in 1968 and went to Berkeley I was a political science major and an antiwar activist I was in Berkeley during People s Park, when the city was occupied and there were tanks on the street corners, and I was there during the Jackson State Kent State killings I met my husband there He d been part of the free speech movement that was my idea of glamor We got married the year I graduated and we came to graduate school at UC Davis together.As an undergraduate I had a special interest in India and Gandhi, and a general interest in imperialism I find the intersection of cultures fascinating, the misunderstandings that occur, the mistakes that are innocently made I m not so fascinated by the mistakes that aren t innocent, although there are a good many of the latter kind As a graduate student I focused on China and Japan It s not clear to me what my career goals were whatever, I had my first child during spring break of the last year of my masters Six days less than two years later I had a second child My husband and I still live in Davis, although the kids have left for college and beyond.I decided to try to be a writer on my 30th birthday.All questions answered

715 Reply to “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves”

  1. I ve always used the star rating 5 it was amazing4 really liked it3 liked it 2 it was okay1 did not like Which means that I ruin the scale for all the books I review, because most people seem to use the following scale 5 liked it4 it was okay3 it was boring and or poorly written2 it had huge flaws, and was barely readable.1 I don t like the author disagree with the author s opinion on a politicized subjectI sometimes feel guilty about all my average liked it star ratings in a world of grade infl [...]

  2. I could not relate to the characters and the choppy writing style Wanted to like this book, and there were interesting elements, but I couldn t connect to the way the story was told Forced myself to even skim the book Am I the only person, it seems, who did not like it

  3. She d just rear ended a cop car and she said that only the week before she d been arrested shoplifting tortillas and salsa for a Sunday afternoon football party at her house This is so not good, she told me Honestly, I have the worst luck Luck That s not luck, that s typical stupid choices leading to disaster I started laughing almost immediately because this sounded so familiar I am a longtime fan of Fowler s work going back to Sarah Canary WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES was a continuou [...]

  4. Okay So if I was to give Karen Joy Fowler advice on how to write a great novel, I d tell her to come with an engaging, intelligent and witty narrator and have her tell a captivating, moving and timely story and do it in a compelling and original way Oh wait I don t have to, because she just did all that in her latest totally wonderful novel entitled We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves This is a novel that is best read with as little pre knowledge as possible It starts out as a seemingly emoti [...]

  5. This book got me out of my very long reading slump It was such an easy book to read, yet it was wonderfully complex I sank into it as I hadn t sunk into a book for a long time It felt wonderful So, so funny So wise So psychologically smart and sophisticated So entertaining Not a false note, though the very ending wasn t perfect for me, but it was okay I loved all the literary and psychology science references Devastating too as it was emotionally raw Complicated in a perfect way It s a marvelous [...]

  6. I just settled a debate with myself If you don t know the premise of this book already, I decided not to be the one to tell you As it happened, I did read this with foreknowledge and suspect I would have enjoyed it without knowing the twist Fowler gets to it soon enough And if your jaw doesn t drop, expect, at a minimum, to crack a smile.Sans spoilers, I can still set the stage Rosemary Cooke is a university student in California and in most ways fairly typical She deviates most notably with a [...]

  7. Yep, I was beside myself Kept imagining I was not still reading this Borrrring dulllll teeeeedious and than a little drawn out.I really wanted to like it as I was excited to see a new release from Fowler I enjoyed The Jane Austen Book Club although it is one of those rare books where I actually liked the movie better.The whiny main character the voice of this first person narrative got on my nerves no wonder she had difficulty forming even fictional friendships I couldn t form one with her on p [...]

  8. Update 1.99 Kindle special today I loved it For those who missed this book it s a great discussion read I m sure my other review must be around some place either way, this book is terrific less money than a cup of Starbucks latte Where the heck is my original review I read it when this book first came outSeems we had a long discussion going I say WOW Emotionally charged It s a terrific book club pick Much to discuss Many side themes as well as major themes

  9. 5 STARS 5 5 I have people in my yard and little time to write a review yet I could talk about this book for hours Its a book which will leave a LASTING impression with me on many accounts.Here is a wonderful line in the book I just LIKED it yet its not even what I would speak about FOR HOURSHere is the gem this is for YOU book lovers When I run the world, librarians will be exempt from tragedy Even their smaller sorrows will last only for as long as you can take out a book.

  10. Further proof that the 2014 Man Booker Prize was an absolute farce I was enjoying this novel until it went all Jane Goodall I applaud its use of an unconventional narrative structure and Fowler s humourous prose but the plot just bored me Like a sandwich from Quiznos, I had to really force myself to finish it It would be fine without all the monkey business.

  11. you ve arrived smack in the middle of this review I decided to skip the beginning where I might have discussed the plot, the writing, etc and I ll probably skip the end too because if there s no beginning, there s really no need for an end So here we are in the middle, taking time out from the usual review stuff for a little reflection on reading, and life in general What about a catchy ritzy aphorism to kick us off Books are mirrors you only see in them what you already have inside you Carlos R [...]

  12. 5 Stars.I am Completely Overwhelmed with Emotion And this is, without a doubt, one of my favorite books of the year We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is the story of the Cooke s, a wholly dysfunctional family, narrated by the youngest of three children, Rosemary Rosemary grew up in a household, surrounded by attention, chaos and love She and her siblings were incredibly close, and Rosemary and her sister Fern did everything together And they adored their big brother Lowell Rosemary was a Ch [...]

  13. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves has generated a lot of hype and gathered a large amount of positive reception, including praise from authors such as Ursula K Le Guin and Andrea Barrett But undoubtedly the biggest boost of all was the inclusion on the shortlist for the Booker Prize This year s Booker was the first of its kind, as it has controversially accepted works by authors from outside the UK and the Commonwealth and for a moment it looked as if the book by Karen Joy Fowler, an Americ [...]

  14. Find all of my reviews at 52bookminimum 4.5 Stars In everyone s life there are people who stay and people who go and people who are taken away against their will This is the story of three siblings Rosemary who stayed , Lowell who went , and Fern who was taken away The only reason I even gave this book a chance was because some of my friends were reading it and giving it many stars I mean, the other book I recognized as being written by the author was The Jane Austen Book Club, the title of whic [...]

  15. I dont know what i was expecting when i picked this up but im so glad i did.I loved this book Such an unusual story Short chapters.Learned so much Lots to think about the welfare of animals.Very emotional.I knew nothing about this book going in and im so glad The less you know the better.

  16. I found the Fowler s book compelling and I m glad that I knew very little about it before I began reading The story became a discovery.I felt like I was along for a very emotional ride It is a story of a dysfunctional family, of discovery of self, of the role of memory and recovery of childhood memory in adulthood, of loss, all through the eyes of daughter Rosemary There is humor, pathos, anger, hurt, disappointment, love and hate, all the emotions you would expect to find between human beings w [...]

  17. Onvan We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Nevisande Karen Joy Fowler ISBN 399162097 ISBN13 9780399162091 Dar 310 Safhe Saal e Chap 2013

  18. What a surprisingly interesting read There s plenty of food for thought, right from the announcement that Rosemary had her Own personal Schrodinger s Cat, to her insistence that memories cannot be trusted Even so, these minor reveals are not the important pieces that frame this narrative structure They may be emotional and harrowing, but the novel is much than just this.It s really about our place in the universe and how Others fit within it, as well.I was confused from the very start why this [...]

  19. The most absorbing books I read have a vital lesson at their core they teach me what it means to be human Karen Joy Fowler s latest book tackles this crucial theme and by doing so, captured my heart and reduced me to tears.There is no getting around that this is an agenda book Ms Fowler s purpose is to show us through fiction that the most complicated animal the human animal can be disastrous to the rest of the animal kingdom through sheer arrogance.Typically, I avoid authorial intrusion like th [...]

  20. Ok, so this book is receiving high critical acclaim, yet I gave it 3 stars Let me try to explain I think Fowler s writing is mostly fine There were a few points where the figurative language seemed forced to me, but no huge complaints I liked the way Fowler often spoke directly to the reader The plotting was fine too It didn t bother me that she skipped from the middle of the story to the past and the present It didn t bother me a bit that the reveal , which you d have to be living in a cave not [...]

  21. This was a very different type of novel for this author, a novel that was not easy to write because at any time it could have easily crossed over into the absurd and it did not It was humorous at times but always at the core there was an element of seriousness This is a story that covers many complex issues, 1970 s was a time of experimental animal psychology which of course led to many animal abuses and stories, that at times are very difficult to read It is really too bad that in the book s sy [...]

  22. Due to various comments regarding the spoilers in my original review, I have added spoiler tags below Disclaimer I do NOT think this review contains spoilers I m super careful of this and would never give away an essential surprise of a story The so called spoilers are the main plot point and are described in detail in the description of the book found above So if you ve read the book description or read anything about this novel in a magazine review or author interview, don t worry about the sp [...]

  23. In everyone s life, there are people who stay and people who go and people who are taken against their will Who do you remember the most I asked myself Those who make part of my primary circle of existence and have enriched my being with their presence Or those who came and then departed for good, leaving an indelible mark on my life, as it looks today Or those who, by all means that I could fathom, were supposed to be a part of my life but were disengaged from me with a menacing strike of desti [...]

  24. Karen Fowler writes Science Fiction stories Great ones She s won the prestigious Nebula Award, not once but twice Now no doubt you are wondering, so what If you know anything about Fowler s tear provoking, often hilarious, brilliantly realized new novel, We are All Completely Beside Ourselves, than surely you know that it isn t a work of science fiction If you ve suffered the misfortune of reading most reviews, than you know this novel s great reveal Spoiler alert here I will give you no spoiler [...]

  25. I VE TOLD YOU the middle of my story now I ve told you the end of the beginning and I ve told you the beginning of the end So says the narrator Read all those missing bits for yourself as I do not wish to spoil the plot for you.

  26. This isn t going to be a long review, because I don t want to ruin this book for anyone Seriously, don t click on the title Don t read any other reviews Because all I knew going into We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves was that it was about some type of dysfunctional family And really, that can mean anything And it s so much better that way I loved the tone of the book, the dry humour and the elegance of the writing, how it s entertaining but appropriately sad and serious at times The narrato [...]

  27. Just two stars for this one because for me it was just an okay book No spoilers but the big reveal about Fern which is supposed to make the book interesting just ruined it for me I was expecting one thing and got another and it all became a bit too wacko for my taste Rosemary was a very weak, unlikeable character and I just wanted to smack Harlow And then for a big finale we discover that Rosemary s memory of events was not to be relied upon anyway So basically it was all for nothing.

  28. oh come ON I reached the big reveal that many reviewers but not the publishers it seems are trying so hard to avoid mentioning The narrator thought some of us might be irritated by her coy refusal to wait so long before explaining her secret She was right Plot line and precocious babbling voice aren t enough This reads like a YA novel.Next.

  29. 2.5 rounded up.I live under a rock I do Otherwise, I would have probably known what the big twist in this book was all about But I didn t, and that was ok.However, even not knowing that there even is a twist didn t help me enjoy the book than I did, and here is why The beginning of the story was awesome the MC, Rosemary Cooke, is inadvertently arrested when another woman goes mental on her ex boyfriend in a cafeteria.What a great start to a story Unfortunately, from there on the book lost momen [...]

  30. Someone recommended Karen Joy Fowler s novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves , and, I ll be honest, I was hesitant to read it because she also wrote The Jane Austen Book Club , a book which I haven t read but which seemed like the kind of chick lit that I can t stand a group of women from all walks of life, bonding over some kind of club be it knitting, cooking, books, traveling pants, or Downton Abbey , talking about how shitty their relationships are or reminiscing about the dream guy w [...]

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