LitPicks Book Reviews—February 2015

Theme—We Are All Looking for Ourselves.
Three wonderful books with characters in search of themselves—arguably literature's most enudring theme.



We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Karen Joy Fowler, 2014
320 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
February, 2015
So much goes on in this remarkable book that it's hard to fit into a single genre. Is it a domestic drama? A coming-of-age story? A mystery? An expose of animal cruelty? A study in the neuropsychology? A tragicomedy or comic-tragedy? Yes, to all the above. However you classify it, Karen Joy Fowler's book is a terrific read.

At its heart is the story of separated siblings—"twin" sisters pulled apart at the age of five—and the fallout from that separation on Rosie Cooke, the remaining sister. Rose is human; her twin was a chimpanzee. One day Fern disappeared, and Rosie doesn't understand why.



We Are Not Ourselves
Matthew Thomas, 2014
640 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
February, 2015
The heroine of We Are Not Ourselves is tough and tough to like. But we're riveted by her character: her strength and clarity of mind and purpose fascinate us—so much so that Eileen Tumulty could well go down as one of modern fiction's most memorable heroines.

The 1950s finds Eileen growing up in the working class borough of Queens, New York. When she meets Ed Leary, a brilliant young research chemist, she marries him with the expectation that he will propel her into the well-heeled life she desires. But Ed has other ideas about the course of his life—ideas that don't involve upper-class pretensions.



We Are Pirates
Daniel Handler, 2015
288 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
February, 2015
A dark, quirky, and ultimately exuberant book, We Are Pirates combines elements of Lord of the Flies with Peter Pan's Lost Boys. In it, a band of troubled souls—three teens, an Alzheimer patient, and a Haitian care giver—model themselves after 18th-century pirates and set off to plunder San Francisco Bay.

They're intent on rebellion and on reclaiming the happiness they believe was stolen from them. But what starts out as a romantic pirate adventure goes inexplicably, horribly wrong.


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