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We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

(6 Posts)
HappydaysArehere Sun 16-Nov-14 09:50:51

Can't make up my mind about this book. While reading it I thought this is a tad pretentious. It was full of psychological terminology and case histories which I was familiar with as I had come across most of these when I was studying but I still felt disengaged. However, by the time I had finished I was beginning to feel as if I should have shown it more appreciation. It's format was clever but did I enjoy it? Did I warm to the characters - not really. Was it a worthy Booker prize contender? I suppose it was but would I enthuse and recommend ? Not really. The subject was harrowing so perhaps that was the reason. Would be interested in other opinions.

TheKitchenWitch Sun 16-Nov-14 09:58:30

I read it not realising that the big reveal was supposed to be a secret ie I'd come across what it was in various reviews and comments, so I didn't have the build-up of suspension that I think you probably need in the book.
I found it pretentious too, and really just not that great. I thought it felt very much like a first-novel - some clumsy pulling-at-the-heart-strings stuff, bizarre student-life bits that I thought were totally out-of-place etc.

I didn't really buy into the premise that Rosemary would still be so affected by Fern, either - I mean, she disappeared when Rosemary was five and tbh, how many of us have such strong memories of then anyway?

I gave it 2 stars on my Goodreads review as it was easy to read, but that's about it.

TsukuruTazaki Sun 16-Nov-14 10:21:23

I found it a bit tedious and very overrated. Didn't really enjoy.

HappydaysArehere Sun 16-Nov-14 10:23:17

You are right about the five year old and the apparent long term effect it had on her. I too didn't get the big reveal as it was more or less predictable once you realised that the sister was a chimp and the later revelation of her part in her departure was less than surprising. I agree with your two stars. Still can't understood why it was on the Booker list. It doesn't bode well for my reading of the other contenders I received as a job lot from the Book people. I am reading the winner at the moment which is harrowing beyond harrowing. I find some selections, like last year and the year before., to be excellent but others a real let down. Thank you for your opinion. Think you got it just about right.

hackmum Sun 16-Nov-14 11:48:53

We've had a few discussions on here about this already.

I couldn't disagree more. I found it completely fascinating and very moving.

HappydaysArehere Sun 16-Nov-14 15:06:59

Interesting hackmum to hear another opinion. The stories around those chimps used in social study experiments are really moving. I remember us students showing real disgust at the situations that these animals were put into for pathetic and unnecessary investigations. However, the format of the book and the dragged out storyline spoiled it for me. There appeared little to balance the misery. However, I do believe our response to a book depends on our mood at the time and I am pleased you enjoyed it as did the Booker judges.

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