We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves sat on my bookshelf for a year, recommended by Doug, a friend who loved it. The reason I didn’t pick it up sooner? Book snobbery… It’s by the author of The Jane Austen Book Club. (Which, for the record, I haven’t read, but I think it was turned into a super cheesy movie, right?) Did I care that it was a finalist for the Booker Prize? Nope.
Well, I finally decided to give it a try and, surprise!, I really loved it too.
The story centers on the family of Rosemary Cooke, her older brother, Lowell, and her sister, Fern. Rosemary’s childhood is the same as most, she’s quirky, playful and talkative, she loves her siblings; her childhood is also so very different – her sister Fern is a chimpanzee. (This is not a big reveal. The back cover copy on the book will tell you as much.) Within this story of a complicated family, Fowler weaves in themes of animal cruelty, human nature, love and trust, memory, and the imperfectness of childhood.