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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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Diane S. (07/14/13)

We are all completely besides ourselves
This was a very different type of novel for this author, a novel that was not easy to write because at any time it could have easily crossed over into the absurd and it did not. It was humorous at times but always at the core there was an element of seriousness.

This is a story that covers many complex issues, 1970's was a time of experimental animal psychology which of course led to many animal abuses and stories, that at times are very difficult to read. It is really too bad that in the book's synopsis it gives away so much because it was not until the second part of the book that the reader is made aware of exactly who this family was comprised of, a feat I found amazing. So this can be a condemnation of the animal experiments, a warning to us perhaps about overreaching, and at times it almost bordered on the preachy, but just when I thought that the author would pull back.

This is also a coming of age story. Rosemary now a young adult looking back at her childhood and childhood self, a story about the reliability of memory. Does one remember the event or just the retelling of the event? Also family, what does it mean to be a family and exactly what do we owe other family members?

Anyway one wants to read this, it is well done, interesting, and animal lovers will surely be appalled but maybe it is something we all need to think about. How much do we allow in the progress of the sciences?
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Beyond the Book:
  Animal Rights and Activism

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