The Man Booker 2014 Readalong discussion

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
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The Books > We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler

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Esther  (estame) | 37 comments Mod
Are you going to choose this to read?


Kirat Pawar (theobsessivecompulsivereader) | 7 comments Read this today, did not like it at all! :((


Esther  (estame) | 37 comments Mod
Wow that was quick! Didn't you only get it yesterday?! Got to admit that this isn't one I'm looking forward to. I know the thing I'm not supposed to know before I read it, which doesn't help!

What didn't you like about it?


Kirat Pawar (theobsessivecompulsivereader) | 7 comments I don't want to ruin it so won't say much, but I can't believe that it has been longlisted! When it started, it was brilliant, but after like page 60 it was so boring! I guess I can talk about it freely once you've read it! The only thing I like about the book is the structure!


Esther  (estame) | 37 comments Mod
One of the judges said that it was chosen because of it's character development and how it deals with relationships, agree?


Kirat Pawar (theobsessivecompulsivereader) | 7 comments Yea would agree on that element of the book, but other than that it just wasn't for me I suppose.


Darklittle | 12 comments I really loved the book. :) I mean I wouldn't let it win the prize - well, only if the other books are very bad - but I liked the concept.


Violet Im reading it right now and I'm also loving it. :) Hope the end isn't going to be disappointing though, who knows.. I have not ready any other book from the longlist so far, so I cannot say if it should win in the end, but personally, I'm really really enjoying it.


Darklittle | 12 comments For me it was a real page turner :)


Violet Absolutely, I can't wait to finish it.
Were you aware of Fern? I didn't know before and it was quite the surprise.


Darklittle | 12 comments No, I had no idea :)


Maureen I loved the book, and I won't reveal any spoilers. Once you have read it, I would love to discuss the book. One question I will pose is what do you think of the title's significance?


message 13: by Neil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Neil Just finished and posted a review - disappointing second half, I thought, after an excellent start. Overall, I enjoyed it but not as much as I thought I was going to.


Jennifer (jengalanis) | 3 comments The beginning was great, but after the first part it became boring. The last 50 pages or so were a bit more interesting, so I decided on three stars instead of two, but I still don't get why it has been longlisted. Even the writing style was pretty average.


Trudie (trudieb) Just finished this book and I really enjoyed it, but agree the second half or last quarter specifically seemed to be a little like the author had run out of steam. I loved the topic as a whole and thought some very interesting questions were raised about what it means be human and how we define ourselves against other animals. It is not a perfect novel and perhaps not even a shortlist contender but it is still a very thought-provoking read.


Kamil (coveredinskin) | 12 comments Hi Guys, I've recorded a video review of this book, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_boAH...


Maureen Kamil wrote: "Hi Guys, I've recorded a video review of this book, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_boAH..."

Thank you for your video-review. I enjoyed your review, but I awarded this novel 4 stars. I agree with the themes and concepts you name. What did you think about the ending; for me it was a bit-too " happily-ever-after" and caused me to lose touch with the narrator, who previously seemed credulous. I would be interested to read your response. Thanks.


Kamil (coveredinskin) | 12 comments Thank you Maureen. Interesting point however I wasn't put off by the ending i think mostly because of the fact that documentries about similar stories I've read or watch provided pretty similar reaction of primates members of families lost and found. Project Nim for instance, strongly recommended. I also liked the fact that kids watching apes in the kindergarten weren't very found if Fern. I thought about it as very realistic, we humans often don't understand animals behaviour.
Sorry for such unorganised answer, I'm writing from the airport using my phone.


Heather (ladymcheth) I just finished this book last night. I'm still trying to gather my thoughts on it.
I haven't read any of the other books on the list so have nothing to compare it to.
I was really interested in the family, human-animal relationships and psychology aspects of it all. I tend to like character driven stories so I enjoyed this book.


Brown Girl Reading | 11 comments Just finished this yesterday and wow! I really enjoyed it and found the whole story well done. It was sensitive, gripping, and at times witty. I don't know if she'll win the Man Booker but I can see why she's landed on the shortlist. I gave it 5 stars.


Brown Girl Reading | 11 comments I thought the title was well chosen. Described very well the family situation.


message 22: by Maureen (last edited Sep 18, 2014 09:26AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maureen Didi wrote: "I thought the title was well chosen. Described very well the family situation."

Do you think it has a bit of an ironic tone, since the family is "all completely beside" themselves? Doesn't it capture that they are at their wit's ends because they were unprepared for the experiment of raising a primate in their midst?


Brown Girl Reading | 11 comments Absolutely Maureen! The mother even says the phrase around the beginning of the book.


Maureen Didi wrote: "Absolutely Maureen! The mother even says the phrase around the beginning of the book." I had not recalled it, but it is not surprising. Did you think the " healing between the mother and daughter at thei end of the novel was just a touch too perfect? A bit nrealistic?


Brown Girl Reading | 11 comments No I think it was genuine since her relationship with her mother wasn't as difficult as with her father. I could see them getting closer since the dad had died and the brother was in jail. And what do you know who's the link between the two Fern!


Maureen Didi wrote: "No I think it was genuine since her relationship with her mother wasn't as difficult as with her father. I could see them getting closer since the dad had died and the brother was in jail. And what..." I appreciate your perspective. Thanks for sharing!


Brown Girl Reading | 11 comments No problem love discussing books! Maureen wrote: "Didi wrote: "No I think it was genuine since her relationship with her mother wasn't as difficult as with her father. I could see them getting closer since the dad had died and the brother was in j..."


Maureen Eduardo wrote: "Just checked the moment the expression in the title is mentioned in chapter 7. They are playing in the snow and Rosemary says they are so excited, they are completely beside themselves, as her woul..."

Eduardo, I appreciate your thoughts. So often titles strike us as having different meanings while we are reading a novel, but the final analysis often is what lasts.


message 29: by Neil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Neil At the point where the phrase is used, daughter and chimp are, I believe, physically beside each other. At least, they were in my imagining of the scene as I read it. I thought the author was making the point that it was hard in that family set up to draw a distinction between human and animal. This is what a lot of the book challenges us to think about and the fact that the author chose to use this phrase as the title and put it in this scene suggests this scene is a key one.


Annette (annetteinperth) I enjoyed the book but my enthusiasm petered out about 40% into the story. I loved the premise though - unusual and thought provoking.
I don't know that it is worthy of the short list though - compared to "Narrow road to the deep north", I thought it just wasn't in the same league.
Hoping to read "the lives of others" next - that seems to have the pundits excited.


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