Sunday, 15 February 2015

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler

I know that this doesn’t technically fall into any of the categories I set myself for my book challenge (see list here), but I don’t want to limit my reading and if I fancy something else I will just read it! We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is something I have wanted to read since it came out really, but one of those that I just didn’t get round to. My parents had both read it and enjoyed it, several of my friends had read and enjoyed it and I had seen lots of book bloggers I follow loving it.
I’m planning to keep this review short and sweet as it is going to be difficult to write about without giving things away! SO here is what I thought about it:

In a nutshell: A word of warning, don’t look up anything to do with this book before you read it – this will be spoiler free but a lot of reviews I have seen, in my opinion, completely ruin it. All I will say in terms of the story is that it centres round a girl called Rosemary who has had a very strange upbringing. She starts the story in the middle, flips back and forth and remembers and misremembers parts of her childhood. What follows is an interesting, original and genuinely thought provoking novel, but not one that I am completely blown away by.

Would you recommend this book? Yes I would. Not my favourite book I have ever read but I really enjoyed it nonetheless.

How quickly did you read it?  This took barely any time at all to read. It has really short chapters in a lot of cases so I was able to read a chapter or two on my commute to and from work which was great.

Why did you choose to read this book? As I said above, it had been recommended by lots of people, nominated for a few prizes and my dad had a copy which I borrowed. I also knew absolutely nothing about the story which I think is a really good thing anyway, but particularly with this book.

Favourite aspect of the book?  Honestly – the “twist”. I don’t think it gives anything away to say that there were lots of elements of the book which I didn’t see coming AT all. I know that lots of people like reading reviews of books before they buy them but I think the book is a lot more thought provoking if you go into it knowing nothing of the story (which is why I have chosen not to provide much about the plot in this review).

Anything you didn’t like? There was nothing I really disliked in particular, but I don’t think it has been the best book I have read so far in 2015. I enjoyed it and I couldn’t put it down once I got into it, but I probably won’t re-read it anytime soon.

Any additional thoughts?  This has been a book that I have enjoyed discussing as much, if not more than, I enjoyed reading it. It has certainly made me think about certain issues a lot more than I ever did before.

Overall this is one of those books that everyone seems to have read and have a strong opinion on and I would recommend reading so that you can decide for yourself.

I realise this has been a bit of a strange review as I haven’t actually said too much about the book but, I genuinely think that the more you know about this book before you begin, the less you will enjoy it. I think it would have ruined my enjoyment had I known anything about it before I read it, as the fact that the direction I thought it was going turned out to be completely wrong forced me to think about the book a lot more once the “twist” had happened. You will just have to take my word for it that it is a good read that isn’t too hard going and is really interesting to discuss and look up afterwards!

Beth x


  1. Another well balanced review!
    I was worried for you when I saw that you'd chosen this one as it is virtually impossible to discuss without giving the vital plot 'twist' away. Although the 'twist' comes relatively early in the book, I agree with you that any forewarning will fundamentally change the lens the reader will view the book through.
    The book is definitely worth a read and I'd think it's very unlikely that many people will have read anything quite like it before.

  2. Thank you Boulder Mob, you always leave the most thoughtful and lovely comments.
    Yes, you're completely right it was virtually impossible! I guess this was just my way of telling people that it was a good, easy read that I enjoyed.
    Thanks for commenting (again!).

  3. I'm intrigued after reading this review, I don't really get a lot of time to read, would you recommend this as a good short read over some of the other stuff you have read this year Beth?