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Monday, October 20, 2014

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

I loved this book, which was  short listed for the Booker Prize this year.  A word of warning, though.  My husband, who admittedly is not a huge fan of the books on the aforementioned short list, did not love this book.  So you are officially forewarned this did not receive the spouse medal of approval.

Rosemary is largely looking back on her life, beginning in 1970's Indiana and going forward into the present by the end.  She is largely mourning the loss of her sister Fern, and the loss of her brother as a result of that.  Fern is an unusual sibling (I am not going to spoil this, so if you manage to not read other reviews of this book you might get to see things through Rosemary's eyes rather than judging her too early in the story), but she was no less a sibling to Rosemary than if she had been completely ordinary.  In some ways, it her differentness made it harder for her siblings to move beyond her loss.  The story is about ignoring grief and then turning 180 degrees and embracing it, building your life around what happened and moving forward in that way.

There is a lot to think about in this book, which is deceptively light and whimsically packaged.  It is a cautionary tale of unintended consequences and how to go about doing the best you can with what the past has dealt you.

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