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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

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Review: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler

I was fairly confident that I was not going to like We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. In the opening pages, the conversational tone and the author's obvious withholding of information gave the novel a fluffy first impression. It is evident that it is all a ploy, but to what aim? Why is the author trying to lead her readers on? And would she be able to pull it off in a way that was satisfactory? I figured the answer to these questions would result in my dislike for the novel.


The truth is the tactic never worked for me. I'm not sure if the novel would've been better had the author been forthright or used a different tone, but it didn't matter, because in the end, I liked it regardless. And despite my fluff detector going off incessantly, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves was far from fluffy; it is an incredibly intelligent and insightful novel. Several times it got me thinking about our relationships with others and with animals. The subject is well thought out and the research is abundantly clear. Overall, an enjoyable and quick read that may rely a bit too heavily on tricks.


Oh, and a word to the publishers: If the intent of a book is to expose a big “revelation”, you may wish to not include that revelation on the front cover. Duh.