September, 2015: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

(Book #65) It was my evening to host and I was excited to share this book  for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its title. I love it when families have expressions that are their own little watch words and use them to title a book — like this one, Alexandra Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go to The Dogs Tonight and Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.  

Because the middle of the story takes place around the Thanksgiving holiday– I decided to serve a full Thanksgiving feast. I contacted the author to learn her favorite side dish and served her cranberry sauce with orange zest.  If you intend to read the book and want the full impact, stop reading this NOW and read the book. The rest will contain spoilers, the first of which is that in addition to the Thanksgiving dishes there were two banana recipes.

Most of the girls enjoyed this read; Susan found it very emotional and told us a story of a photoshoot she had to do with lab animals caged within the room. There are many psychological aspects to the book of great interest to me, including the uncanny-valley response which is an aversion to things that look almost, but not quite like people. The book is cleverly written — has such a unique subject and Rosemary is so complex/real I had to double check that it was a novel not a memoir.

Just for fun, I made each of the girls a little necklace with a square picture pendant of  their long lost sister-chimp. There was a business-chimp, an astronaut and chimps from other walks of life to match up to our group. (We don’t have an astronaut, just a seasoned traveler.) The girls had to answer questions on the quiz below to earn their necklaces.