So I really enjoyed this book BUT I’ve had my ups and downs with it. I’ve owned this book for probably about 4 years and have only just completed it. I’ve started it many times but never made it past the 3rd chapter because life got in the way or a book that I thought would be more exciting. But, after my pal Lily told me it was her favourite book I thought I really ought to give it another chance as we normally have a similar taste.
I gave it another go and got to my usual ‘stop point’ and finally managed to carry on going. It’s not that it didn’t interest me or that I didn’t think it was well written because it did, it’s just that in my opinion, it took a while to grip me. When I wasn’t reading it, I had forgotten all about it. UNTIL it got good. Like* really good!
(*p.s. sorry Nain if you are reading for saying like- apparently I say it too much)
After part 2 I couldn’t stop thinking about it and finished the book in a matter of 2 days whilst on holiday in Putsborough. It made a good balcony read trying to bake myself in the afternoon sun after a walk or a beach read after a swim.
It’s about a girl called Rosemary recalling on her relationship with her missing twin sister Fern. Except Fern isn’t human. Karen Joy Fowler (the author) first leads you to believe that she is, and then you suspect that she might be imaginary but turns out, she’s actually a chimpanzee raised as Rosemary’s twin.
“I loved her as a sister, but she was the only sister I ever had, so I can’t be sure; it’s an experiment with no control.”
And oh boi has Fowler done her research- she’s got psychological studies and scientific studies in there retelling a chimps relationship to humans. It’s truly insightful into the intelligence of chimps and animals.
“My brother and sister have led extraordinary lives, but I wasn’t there, and I can’t tell you that part. I’ve stuck here to the part I can tell, the part that’s mine, and still everything I’ve said is all about them, a chalk outline around the space where they should have been. Three children, one story. The only reason I’m the one telling it is that I’m the one not currently in a cage.”
The story is told from Rosemary’s perspective, a college student with a missing brother looking for her missing sister. She has one friend, Harlow, who brings out the animalistic side of Rosemary’s. Throughout the book Rosie recalls on her youth with Fern and what she remembers about her disappearance and her jealousy of the attention Fern got over her when she was a child. Rosemary also begins to discover the truth about Fern’s disappearance and is outraged by the fact she is kept in a laboratory cage. This is hinted at throughout the novel through the use of discourse and semantics of a laboratory such as when her brother keeps rats or when Rosie sees carving a Pumpkin as ‘Dissecting’- there is a lot of interesting literary symbols like this throughout the novel but this is one of the ones that interested me the most. Another is the mirroring of animal like behaviour Rosemary does, because of Fern’s abilities to walk sooner that children, Rosemary is encouraged to do so out of childlike competition and copying to do so sooner than the average child. This can also be seen in her quick temper.
“I DIDN’T KNOW what she was thinking or feeling. Her body had become unfamiliar to me. And yet, at the very same time, I recognized everything about her. My sister, Fern. In the whole wide world, my only red poker chip. As if I were looking in a mirror.”
If you are interested in animal and even children psychology this should DEFFO be on your ‘must read’ book list.
I hope you enjoyed this quick review. I hopefully will be getting round to doing many more this summer (most of them will be for my dissertation research though so be prepared for some environmental dystopias reviews)
p.s. sorry that I’ve not posted weekly as I have been on holiday (i’m back on track now)