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We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Fowler, Karen Joy

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Coming of age in middle America, eighteen-year-old Rosemary evaluates how her entire youth was defined by the presence and forced removal of an endearing chimpanzee who was secretly regarded as a family member and who Rosemary loved as a sister.

Publisher: New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, c2013.
ISBN: 9780399162091
Characteristics: 310 p. ; 22 cm.


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Winner of 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Karen Joy Fowler has won the 34th PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for her novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. Other finalists for the award were: Daniel Alarcón for his novel At Night We Walk in Circles, Percival Everett for his novel Percival Everett by Virgil Russell, Joan Silber for her collection of short stories Fools, Valerie Trueblood for her collection of short stories Searc… (more)

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Feb 17, 2015
  • Cas22 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is a disturbing and thought-provoking book that highlights the trauma that can occur to both humans and animals in the name of scientific research. The narrator, Rosemary, reflects back on her childhood growing up with Fern, a chimpanzee, that became like a twin sister to her during a research study designed by her psychologist father. When Fern suddenly disappears from her life, at the age of five, Rosemary is devastated and, many years later, she sets out to uncover what actually happened to her beloved “sister”. Based on actual accounts of chimpanzees living with human families, the author gives a powerful and distressing picture of the unintended consequences of ill-considered research projects.

Feb 11, 2015
  • Sansha rated this: 4 stars out of 5.


Jan 30, 2015
  • deborahjohnston rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Entertaining at the time, but forgettable. You won't contemplate this one long after you've returned it to the library.

Dec 15, 2014
  • lbriverside rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Slate Audiobook Club just did a discussion of this book that sounds delightful.

Nov 13, 2014

This is how good this book is. When my copy came in at the library, I realized that I had actually read it not long before and just didn't recognize the title. It didn't matter. I sat down and read the whole thing over in two sittings. Mesmerizing, unpredictable, with not a false note in it.

Sep 20, 2014
  • mclarjh rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Easy to read, light, the characters remind me of those from a comic book; don't know if the reader is supposed to take this story seriously or not; reads more like porpaganda. Can't believe it was shortlisted for the Booker!

Sep 03, 2014

2014 Man Booker Prize nomiee

2014 PEN/Faulkner Award winner for fiction

Jul 24, 2014
  • katejay42 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I really loved this book, it is one you still think about long after it has been returned. I am glad I did not know "the secret" before I read it, it added a whole different dimension to my read (and I am one who usually reads the end first). I too will not soon forget Fern.

Apr 19, 2014
  • sjacobson1112 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Such a good book addressing some of the issues with keeping chimpanzees as pets.

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