Book Review: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Fowler

9781846689666We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Fowler


Book Summary

Rosemary’s young, just at college, and she’s decided not to tell anyone a thing about her family. So we’re not going to tell you too much either: you’ll have to find out for yourselves what it is that makes her unhappy family unlike any other. Rosemary is now an only child, but she used to have a sister the same age as her, and an older brother. Both are now gone – vanished from her life.

There’s something unique about Rosemary’s sister, Fern. So now she’s telling her story; a looping narrative that begins towards the end, and then goes back to the beginning. Twice.

It’s funny, clever, intimate, honest, analytical and swirling with ideas that will come back to bite you. We hope you enjoy it, and if, when you’re telling a friend about it, you do decide to spill the beans about Fern, don’t feel bad. It’s pretty hard to resist.



This is a very thought provoking book. It raises many issues for the reader, including the ethics of animal experimentation and the morality of trying to make animals conform to meet human goals and how helpless they really are in that situation.

It challenged me to think about product testing on animals and how we as a community should take a stronger stand against buying products which continue inhumane testing on animals.

However, overwhelming the story is about love. The love between two sisters, even though one is not human. The characters are well-written and the story is compelling – a real page turner.

It is also very much about family relationships in general, including between parents and children and between children and their siblings in general. The relationship between the main character and her brother was at times heartbreaking.

I commend this book to anyone who wants not only to read a great book, but also to be challenged by what they read.

Read by – The Happy Bookers, written by Karen.