We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Never before have I taken any interest in a TV book club and I do not know what attracted me to the one started by ITV’s Loose Women. However, It was the actress Linda Robson, best known for the comedy drama, Birds of a Feather, who recommended We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. Karen Joy Fowler is an acclaimed American author of science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction. Her work often centers on the nineteenth century, the lives of women, and alienation. She was born in Bloomington Indiana USA, on 7 February 1950. This is certainly a unique book.
I do not want to spoil the twist, which comes quite early in the book. Suffice to say it is a story about a family where the children’s behaviour and development is pivotal to the novel. The family suffers change and loss.
By the time the novel begins, Rosemary does not talk very much but, when she was younger, she was a chatterbox. About certain things she is completely silent. She had a sister, Fern, her whirlwind other half, who vanished from her life in circumstances she wishes she could forget. It has also been ten years since she last saw her beloved older brother Lowell.
Now she is at college, Rosemary starts to see that she cannot 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. Although the story is told by Rosemary, it is clear each of the members of the family deals with the changes differently and remembers the issues, that led to the changes, differently.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is not a book that I would ordinarily have chosen. I did not expect to enjoy it. However, it is beautifully written with a delicate hand. Karen Joy Fowler is a wonderful writer. It is a clever book that I very much enjoyed and highly recommend.