We are All Completely Beside Ourselves

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Penguin, 2013 - Fiction - 310 pages
3363 Reviews
Named a Best of 2013 pick by: The New York Times Book Review, Slate, Newsday, Chicago Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, The Christian Science Monitor, Library Journal, and BookPage

"I thought this was a gripping, big-hearted book . . . through the tender voice of her protagonist, Fowler has a lot to say about family, memory, language, science, and indeed the question of what constitutes a human being."--Khaled Hosseini

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 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.
 

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Review: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

User Review  - Linda Smith - Goodreads

This book is not at all what I thought it was about. I won't discuss what it's really about because it will give too much away. I will say this the writing is beautiful. The story was too long...just ... Read full review

Review: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

User Review  - Peg (Marianna) DeMott - Goodreads

Wow, wow! Best book I've read in a long time. I could really relate to this book because: 1. It was set in Bloomington Indiana. I'm a Purdue grad but my parents met in Bloomington, right after the end ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
5
Section 3
11
Section 4
17
Section 5
29
Section 6
35
Section 7
43
Section 8
48
Section 24
159
Section 25
165
Section 26
173
Section 27
190
Section 28
200
Section 29
213
Section 30
225
Section 31
231

Section 9
49
Section 10
51
Section 11
59
Section 12
60
Section 13
65
Section 14
77
Section 15
93
Section 16
107
Section 17
109
Section 18
114
Section 19
123
Section 20
127
Section 21
136
Section 22
146
Section 23
155
Section 32
235
Section 33
242
Section 34
249
Section 35
254
Section 36
261
Section 37
263
Section 38
271
Section 39
275
Section 40
281
Section 41
284
Section 42
300
Section 43
303
Section 44
309
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Karen Joy Fowler is the author of three story collections and six novels, one a national bestseller, another a PEN/Faulkner finalist, and all New York Times Notable Books. She lives in Santa Cruz, California.

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