You guys. THIS BOOK.
I don’t even know where to begin. Rosemary, the narrator and main character, doesn’t even start her story at the beginning but rather the middle, and that’s because she’s only recently pieced together what really happened in her childhood. She only just learned why her sister, Fern, disappeared and her brother, Lowell, left right after, and why her parents never talk about any of it. Everything changed in what felt like an instant and her memory was clouded by confusion. What’s a five-year-old to think of such things anyway?
Rosemary Cooke is both a victim and a perpetrator, a young woman who cannot maintain relationships beyond the surface, someone who is so marred by her past that the present feels barely real. Her sister was “her other half,” twin-like, but not, so when Fern disappeared, part of Rosemary disappeared too. Her older brother’s departure felt like abandonment. Suddenly she was an only child in a new house with very quiet parents.
It would be a disservice to you if I said any more about it. The flow of this book is perfection, bits of information fed and digested in proper time. Karen Fowler is an award-winning author who writes with clarity and fervor. All of her accolades feel justified and this is the only thing I’ve read of hers.
Though this seems like a random warning, it’s not: if you have a heart for animals, take caution and bring a tissue.