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We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Audiobook

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

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Publisher's Summary

Rosemary's started college, and she's decided not to tell anyone about her family. Rosemary is now an only child, but she used to have a sister the same age as her, and an older brother. Both are now gone - vanished from her life. There was something unique about Rosemary's sister, Fern. You'll have to find out for yourself what it is that makes her unhappy family unlike any other.

©2014 Karen Joy Fowler (P)2014 W F Howes Ltd

What the Critics Say

"A dark cautionary tale hanging out, incognito-style, in what at first seems a traditional family narrative. It is anything but." (Alice Sebold)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (414 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.9 (373 )
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Story
3.9 (372 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (19)
Performance
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  •  
    Wras 26/11/2014
    Wras 26/11/2014 Member Since 2016

    Kildonan by the sea

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1534
    ratings
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    Story
    "Utopia is not utopia for everyone."

    I will not discuss the plot or the theme just the merits of this book.
    it is as beautiful as it is sad; it is not as funny as it is real which can be funny at time. it is brutally honest, I would say painfully so; perhaps the most honest book about us the contemporary us, humanity us, western science, money driven society and yet it is a book about a family a nuclear family is all the senses you can get out of that word.
    It explores language and communication and question their very essence. But mostly it is about regret and love and the power they have in our lives.
    I loved the reader in this book, she was natural and created believable voice characters.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mags 30/01/2015
    Mags 30/01/2015 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fab story beautifully told"

    Very thought provoking story I was sad to finish it as I enjoyed it so much I wanted to learn more! Highly recommend!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nettlewine 03/11/2014
    Nettlewine 03/11/2014 Member Since 2013

    Nettlewine

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ignore idea of a 'twist' for more satisfying read"
    Would you try another book written by Karen Joy Fowler or narrated by Katharine Mangold?

    I would; I think Fowler is a very talented writer, but this subject possibly obliges her to write in great slabs of 'reported' events, which tend to nullify some moving writing.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I think the ending goes some way to recovering the previous two-thirds of book. It justifies Fowler's approach, but it doesn't quite rescue it.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Katharine Mangold?

    I wouldn't seek her out. The marriage of her somewhat stoner monotone with the psychologically distant and unreliable narrative made for quite a dreary listen. There were quite a lot of mispronunciations too, which may indicate the product was rushed a little.


    Did We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves inspire you to do anything?

    It inspired me to look into how far companies were go in securing the safety and effectiveness of their products. A vexed and emotive area indeed.


    Any additional comments?

    This book has largely been promoted on its 'twist' on page 77; I strongly recommend you don't see this as a twist, but as a necessity in getting the reader to look at the subject in a particular way, i.e. by dropping their prejudices. That's not a twist, and the book doesn't benefit from looking at it as one.

    14 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 23/01/2015 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "thought provoking"

    really enjoyed this book would definitrly revommend it. Perhaps initoally hard to get into but well worth hanging on. Good discussion at our book club about the like ability of characters, memory & early development in formative years effects later relationships. Split opionion aboit the ending amongst the group.

    enjoy.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adele 23/01/2015
    Adele 23/01/2015 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A beautifully told , touching story."

    I loved it. I could feel the pain of the story teller. My tears flowed and my heart was heavy.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Falluntilyoufly York, United Kingdom 13/11/2014
    Falluntilyoufly York, United Kingdom 13/11/2014 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terrible delivery, but reasonably worthwhile book"

    I was initially deeply dismayed by the narrator's voice and style. It's the worst flat nasal American, almost entirely devoid of inflection. She's reading, rather than bringing it to life. As a result, some of the writing - particularly where a story or characterisation nuance turns on an inflected word - gets flattened and lost. There's also no attempt to differentiate voices, occasionally leading to some confusion on my part over who was speaking.

    But once you get past this (and you do tune it out after a while; maybe it's in keeping with the narrator's age) the book is worthwhile. Not hugely, though... I still don't get why it was Booker-longlisted - it's a sort of B-minus piece, rather than the A* I expect from the Booker longlist. It's inventive, reasonably imaginative, and it has a kind of American college-kid angst bordering on depression that calls to mind Douglas Coupland and J. D. Salinger. And the title is clever - I liked the way it changed its meaning as the story progressed. It begins with a reference to an early episode with the children playing in the snow, 'beside themselves' with delight, but later comes to indicate the way that they are all 'beside themselves' with more negative emotions - rage, in Lowell's case, numbness in Rosemary's.

    It's an engaging idea - and for all my criticism, my heart bled for Rosemary, Lowell and Fern, the three central characters - but as a piece of writing, it could have been more thoughtfully delivered. Having Rosemary narrate it from a single temporal point of view - her college career - bypasses the opportunity to narrate earlier memories from an earlier point of view, making her more complex as a character and aligning her more with her 'sister', Fern. This is not a first novel, but it has a lot of first-novel feel about it. For instance, there's too much 'putting in a bit of past history' just immediately before she needs to refer to it in the present, making it seem as if she's not in control of her material - although it's not a complex plot.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    the typist 09/08/2014
    the typist 09/08/2014 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Avoid avoid avoid!"

    I'm not sure which was more dull, the story or the narration. This book should come with a warning hazard: might cause drowsiness! Save your credit and give it a miss. The central character is so boring, endlessly navel gazing about her lost "sister". But the brutal truth is the loss has no impact on the reader. In fact, once you've discovered the sister's secret the story becomes vaguely laughable, ridiculous even. I wanted to shake "Rosie" and shout "grow up! You're bleating about NOTHING." Ok, rant over, save to say that Katherine Mangold's narration is ear bleedingly awful.

    22 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reluctant Mermaid 17/03/2015

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brilliant story - terrible narrator"

    A truly original story - informative, observant and heartbreaking.
    However, the narrator is terrible. She has a horribly robotic voice with a 'smug' undertone. I would advise READING it. The only reason I persevered with the audio version is because I needed something for the dog walk!
    That said, the book itself is wonderful and I would highly recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DAVID COX 06/03/2015
    DAVID COX 06/03/2015 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worth sticking with"

    Second half of the book much more engaging than the first. Tearjerker for me and certain paragraphs I had to skip for tears.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Louise 02/03/2015
    Louise 02/03/2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Thought provoking and gripping"

    I adored this book. It encapsulated me in so many ways. I was sad to finish it! A must read.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
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  • Earnest
    31/01/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Heart achingly subversive"

    Nothing could have surprised me more than the experience of listening to this story. Highly suspicious of being bludgeoned into supporting any cause unwittingly, it was nonetheless extraordinarily fine to be pushed into uncomfortable places by the writer on numerous occasions.
    Crafting together family dysfunction with wry humour and the inescapable tragedy it engenders in yet another way is a real accomplishment. Being human. What a gift, too often squandered.
    The actor 's voice often threatened to make the tone far, far too sombre but on reflection, it seems appropriate.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Heather
    West Hobart, Australia
    29/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Breathtaking literature"
    What did you love best about We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves?

    This is an extraordinary book that deserved to win the Booker - it will stay with you long after its finished - told with humour and wit, and giving insight into how we might be, if we'd been raised only a little differently. A reflection on our place in the world.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Piti
    18/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not entirely convinced"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    People who like to be outraged about how the human race treats anyone who is not human, but don't really do anything other than to be outraged and like Facebook pages of animal cruelty.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Who knows


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Nah


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Naff, boring, disappointing.


    Any additional comments?

    Naff and boring. Once you find out about the alleged "twist" (which is not really a twist in my opinion) you stop caring about the story altogether. The main character is extremely dull and there's nothing to her. The story might be better if told from the brother's perspective. I just wanted to shout "get over it" to the main character throughout most of the book. Even though the subject of the story is interesting, the author (probably with the narrators help) managed to keep me completely uninterested, to the point that I can't even remember the main characters name, and I probably won't be able to remember the rest of the story by the end of the month.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kathryn
    23/10/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Most awful narrator ever!!!"

    I didn't enjoy this book at all. I didn't find the story at all compelling and the narrator had the most awful intonation, a cracked and scratchy voice that sounded as though she was smiling the whole way through. Inflection at the end of EVERY sentence!!!! Drove me nuts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kerrie
    07/07/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An amazing story with some powerful messages for humanity"

    I loved this book so much. I was delighted to learn of its strong messages about compassion and empathy for the non-humans of this world who endure so much suffering at the hands of humans. We need more books like this to encourage the people to 'rise up already'.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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