Let me just warn you all, I’m about to gush.
If you are uncomfortable with humans expressing romantic feelings for a book then you might not want to read any further.
But anyway, I’m going to try and tell you just how much I adored this book without spoiling it for you. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves will take hold of your life and refuse to give it back for as long as you’re reading. I finished it in less than two days and got pretty close to falling out with somebody for trying to make me leave the flat while I was halfway through an important chapter.
This is a special book. But part of the reason it is so special is the surprises that lurk within its pages. In fact, on page 77 of the book, I was met with possibly the biggest surprise I’ve ever found in a novel. And it’s a good surprise. It turns a well written but conventional family drama into something astonishing, original, heartbreaking, funny, and unique. Some people may say there were clues to this surprise, but either I was too slow on the uptake, or Fowler pitched them absolutely perfectly. I’m going to go with the second option.
If you can help it, avoid spoilers. I just did a Google search for the image on the left and found out that spoilers are already everywhere. That’s a shame.
There’s a hell of a lot I could say about We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. And I have said a bit more in my Bookmunch review. But most of all, I just want to say that it reminded me just why I love fiction so much. I connected with every character, believed every twist and turn, and had to wipe a few tears from my eyes during the closing forty pages. It’s a novel about family, about grief, about psychology, childhood, and memory. And it’s all these serious things while also being bloody hilarious.
Can it win? With apologies to my ideal aunty Ali Smith, I hope so. The Booker receives a lot of criticism from literary types for its sometimes safe choices, but if this was to win there could be no arguments. Up there with the very best.