25 Women to Read Before You Die
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Original Essays | August 28, 2015

    Sara Jaffe: IMG Summer Friction



    I was crying or almost crying for most of Fun Home: The Musical — I already loved Alison Bechdel's graphic novel, and I've always been a... Continue »
    1. $10.47 Sale Trade Paper add to wish list

      Dryland

      Sara Jaffe 9781941040133

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$16.00
New Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
10 Burnside Literature- A to Z
5 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z
25 Local Warehouse Literature- A to Z
25 Remote Warehouse Literature- Family Life

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

by

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Cover

ISBN13: 9780142180822
ISBN10: 0142180823
All Product Details

 

Awards


Staff Pick

My advice on this book: do not read any reviews, blurbs, synopses, or even the back cover (or front, for that matter)! Just read the book! It's one of those rare books that you need to approach blind; just dive in and experience it. The less you know, the better. You will fall under its crazy spell.
Recommended by Dianah, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Included on The Christian Science Monitor's list of 2013's top 15 works of fiction.

The New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club introduces a middle-class American family, ordinary in every way but one...

Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. “I was raised with a chimpanzee,” she explains. “I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren't thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern's expulsion… she was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half and I loved her as a sister.” As a child, Rosemary never stopped talking. Then, something happened, and Rosemary wrapped herself in silence.

In We Are All Completely beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler weaves her most accomplished work to date — a tale of loving but fallible people whose well-intentioned actions lead to heartbreaking consequences.

Review:

“A novel so readably juicy and surreptitiously smart, it deserves all the attention it can get....[Its] fresh diction and madcap plot bend the tone toward comedy, but it never mislays its solemn raison dêtre. Monkeyshines aside, this is a story of Everyfamily in which loss engraves relationships, truth is a soulful stalker and coming-of-age means facing down the mirror, recognizing the shape-shifting notion of self.” Barbara Kingsolver, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

“Fowler's interests here are in what sets humans apart from their fellow primates. Cognitive, language and memory skills all come into playful question. But the heart of the novel — and it has a big, warm, loudly beating heart throughout — is in its gradually pieced-together tale of family togetherness, disruption and reconciliation. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is Fowler at her best, mixing cerebral and emotional appeal together in an utterly captivating manner.” The Seattle Times

Review:

“Rosemary's voice is achingly memorable, and Fowler's intelligent discourse on science vs. compassion reshapes the traditional family novel into something more universally relevant. The Cookes are unlike other families and like them at the same time, and through Rosemary's unique perspective Fowler forces us to confront some tough truths. This brave, bold, shattering novel reminds us what it means to be human, in the best and worst sense.” The Miami Herald

Review:

“Rosemary's voice — vulnerable, angry, shockingly honest — is so compelling and the cast of characters, including Fern, irresistible. A fantastic novel: technically and intellectually complex, while emotionally gripping.” Kirkus (starred review)

Review:

“Piquant humor, refulgent language, a canny plot rooted in real-life experiences, an irresistible narrator, threshing insights, and tender emotions — Fowler has outdone herself in this deeply inquisitive, cage-rattling novel.” Booklist (starred review)

Review:

“A strong, unsettling novel....Fowler explores the depths of human emotions and delivers a tragic love story that captures our hearts.” Library Journal (starred review)

Review:

“Rosemary's experience [is] a fascinating basis for insight into memory, the mind, and human development....Fowler's great accomplishment is not just that she takes the standard story of a family and makes it larger, but that the new space she's created demands exploration.” Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Karen Joy Fowler, A PEN/Faulkner and Dublin IMPAC nominee, is the author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Sarah Canary, The Sweetheart Season, Wit's End, Black Glass: Short Fictions, and Sister Noon.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

Coni, May 12, 2015 (view all comments by Coni)
It’s hard to talk about this novel without giving too much away since a major piece of information is held back in the first part of the story. It does start in the middle, since Rosemary, a 22-year-old young woman, was told by her parents when she was younger to skip the beginning and start in the middle. She used to talk non-stop, until her sister, that she was so close to she considered her a twin sister, left. Not too long after that, her brother left. She hasn’t seen either one in many years. Around that time, she also quit talking so much because it was easier to get through life when people did not know much about her and couldn’t judge her. I had to keep reading to find what had happened to her sister and brother. I also had to know why she quit talking so much.

I enjoyed this book very much. It could be said that Rosemary is an unreliable narrator because she would explain what happened to her as a child, she wasn’t sure if it really happened how she remembered it or if she had filled in some gaps over the years with what she thought happened. I did not mind this because that is what memory is like. Is what you remember now, really how it happened? How can two or three people that were present remember what happened in different ways? It isn’t only perceptions that are different, but what we choose to remember and what we forget over the years and end up making up parts of the story to fill in those memory gaps.

I also really enjoyed that the narrator was in college in the early to mid-1990s, which is when I was in college so it was fun to read all the cultural references. It put me back into the headspace I was in when I was that age and then as the story moves along to current times to see how she matures and reaches the same age as I am while reading it. It isn’t often that happens while reading a book so it was a nice touch.

I do recommend that if you want to read this book then try not to read the back of the book flap like I did. It does give away some information about Rosemary’s sister. There is still much that is learned while reading it like why her sister went away and where she went, but I think it would be fun to actually learn the surprise in the second act of the book.

The way the book ends is heartbreaking. It is a really good ending. Many questions are answered and people are healed from anger they have felt over the years when they finally start talking to each other again. It ends on the only realistic note it could, but it is still quite sad.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
techeditor, January 15, 2015 (view all comments by techeditor)
I want to stand and applaud Karen Joy Fowler for this outstanding book, WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSESLVES. If you love animals, you want to read this. Or if you appreciate great writing and observations about the human condition, with psychological analysis throughout, you want to read this.

How to review this book without spoiling the first quarter of it? All other reviews that I read give it away, and I wished as I read it that I didn't already know but could have discovered or guessed it as the author intended. So I'm not going to say. But I urge you to avoid other reviews, even the book flap, and to pay close attention whenever the sister is mentioned.

This story is narrated by Rosemary as an adult, telling of growing up with her parents, brother, Lowell, and her sister, Fern. What an extraordinary life they lead! While this is not a book of humor, Rosemary's (Fowler's) descriptions are told with wit and intelligence. You'll enjoy every bit of this, and it might make you cry.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Antheia, October 21, 2014 (view all comments by Antheia)
I saw this was on sale and almost bought it AGAIN. I can't stop talking about it. My classmates probably hate me. But it's by far the best book I've read in at least the last year. Get it! Get it now!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 5 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780142180822
Author:
Fowler, Karen Joy
Publisher:
Plume
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20140225
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 0.54 lb
Age Level:
from 18

Other books you might like

  1. Old Filth
    Used Trade Paper $8.95
  2. Kill Anything That Moves: The Real...
    Used Trade Paper $11.95
  3. Outlander
    Used Mass Market $4.95
  4. Life After Life
    Used Trade Paper $7.50

Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Award Winners
Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » Miscellaneous Award Winners
Featured Titles » Staff Picks
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Coming of Age
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Family Life
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Sale Books
Fiction and Poetry » Man Booker Prize Shortlist 2014
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.00 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Plume - English 9780142180822 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

My advice on this book: do not read any reviews, blurbs, synopses, or even the back cover (or front, for that matter)! Just read the book! It's one of those rare books that you need to approach blind; just dive in and experience it. The less you know, the better. You will fall under its crazy spell.

"Review" by , “A novel so readably juicy and surreptitiously smart, it deserves all the attention it can get....[Its] fresh diction and madcap plot bend the tone toward comedy, but it never mislays its solemn raison dêtre. Monkeyshines aside, this is a story of Everyfamily in which loss engraves relationships, truth is a soulful stalker and coming-of-age means facing down the mirror, recognizing the shape-shifting notion of self.”
"Review" by , “Fowler's interests here are in what sets humans apart from their fellow primates. Cognitive, language and memory skills all come into playful question. But the heart of the novel — and it has a big, warm, loudly beating heart throughout — is in its gradually pieced-together tale of family togetherness, disruption and reconciliation. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is Fowler at her best, mixing cerebral and emotional appeal together in an utterly captivating manner.”
"Review" by , “Rosemary's voice is achingly memorable, and Fowler's intelligent discourse on science vs. compassion reshapes the traditional family novel into something more universally relevant. The Cookes are unlike other families and like them at the same time, and through Rosemary's unique perspective Fowler forces us to confront some tough truths. This brave, bold, shattering novel reminds us what it means to be human, in the best and worst sense.”
"Review" by , “Rosemary's voice — vulnerable, angry, shockingly honest — is so compelling and the cast of characters, including Fern, irresistible. A fantastic novel: technically and intellectually complex, while emotionally gripping.”
"Review" by , “Piquant humor, refulgent language, a canny plot rooted in real-life experiences, an irresistible narrator, threshing insights, and tender emotions — Fowler has outdone herself in this deeply inquisitive, cage-rattling novel.”
"Review" by , “A strong, unsettling novel....Fowler explores the depths of human emotions and delivers a tragic love story that captures our hearts.”
"Review" by , “Rosemary's experience [is] a fascinating basis for insight into memory, the mind, and human development....Fowler's great accomplishment is not just that she takes the standard story of a family and makes it larger, but that the new space she's created demands exploration.”
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

       
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.