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  • Allie

Rosemary’s Family

We are completely beside ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler book with bookmark

Hello and happy Wordy Wednesday!

I just finished reading the book We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. The protagonist Rosemary has an enormous vocabulary—it’s part of her character—so I picked up plenty of words with which to expand my (and your) lexicon.

This novel was published in 2013. Without current hype, the book came to me via Anne Bogel, creator of the blog Modern Mrs. Darcy and the podcast What Should I Read Next. Anne hesitates to describe the book, and I feel that same hesitation here with you. Because Rosemary reveals her story in an intentionally roundabout order, it would be so easy for me to accidentally spoil it for you. But I can tell you that I immediately liked and cared about Rosemary, our wordy narrator. And I was immediately curious to know what happened to her brother and sister, both missing. Plus, I had to know: how did the story of her family end up with a picture of a chimp in a tree on the cover? Read it, and you’ll find out. 

Fowler’s novel provides our words for today. In this segment I list the word, the sentence it came from, its Oxford definition, and a sentence of my own using the word. 

1. bivalve

“Under that sexy cap, he had the brains of a bivalve and I was glad not to be the one sleeping with him” (42).

Noun: an aquatic mollusk that has a compressed body enclosed within a hinged shell, such as oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops. 

An allergy to bivalves can limit your diet in regions that commonly serve seafood. 

2. ineluctable 

“One day, Steven Claymore threw a snowball at me with a rock inside because I’d said he was ineluctable, which he didn’t like the sound of but proved true” (45).

Adjective: unable to be resisted or avoided; inescapable.

At Trader Joe’s the salt & vinegar potato chips prove to be an ineluctable treat every time I shop there. 

3. hypnopompic 

“I dozed again, had a dream that slipped from me like hypnopompic water as I surfaced from it to a memory” (178).

Adjective: relating to the state immediately preceding waking up.

In a hypnopompic state I integrate the sound of my alarm into the plot of my dream. 

Thanks for joining me for Wordy Wednesday! Until next time, happy reading. 



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