Karen Joy Fowler's new novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
is a story about a family torn apart by the loss of one member. While that is not an unusual occurrence in novels about families, never have I read one in which the lost member was a chimpanzee. Loosely based on an experiment conducted in the 1930s by married scientists who attempted to raise a baby chimp along with their infant daughter, Fowler examines what it would be like for the human children who were part of such a family.
Rosemary Cooke is a fifth year college student who can't settle on a major because she is leading a most unsettled life. Having been the child who never stopped talking, she is now immured in a self-imposed silence lest anyone find out that she was once the "monkey girl." Fern, the chimp, who was a sister in every sense, joined the family when she and Rosemary were...
Beyond the Book
People have debated the rights of animals since early times. The relationship between people and animals has generated many different and widely varying perspectives. Here's a quick trek through some of them, following in animals' footsteps whether four footed or two:
In the 6th century BCE, Pythagoras taught that both animals and humans had souls that reincarnated between the two. However, Aristotle in the 4th century BCE, in his writings on animal classification, placed non-human animals below humans in what became known as the Great Chain of...