BookBrowse Reviews We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

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We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

by Karen Joy Fowler

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
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  • First Published:
    May 2013, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2014, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Judy Krueger

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We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is the story of an American family, middle class in middle America, ordinary in every way but one. They raised a chimp as one of their own.

Karen Joy Fowler's 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 just a few months old and was ...

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