We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

September 4, 2014 Contemporary Fiction, Family 11

Hidey Ho, Bookworms!

Shortly after BEA, some of my blog pals who had been lucky enough to attend the conference o’ bookish goodness and starting chatting about what ARC’s they were excited to have picked up. One of these books was We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas. Not one to be left out, I jumped over to NetGalley to see if I could snag myself a digital copy. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This in no way affects my opinion on the book, as I am a cantankerous old mule whose opinions will not be tamed.*

wearenotourselves We Are Not Ourselves begins with a young Eileen Tumulty. The daughter of Irish immigrants, Eileen’s life is marked by family strife and alcoholism. She dreams of living a more prosperous life, and eventually meets a young scientist named Ed Leary who is refreshingly different than the other men in her neighborhood. Sadly for Eileen, she soon learns that Ed isn’t motivated by the American Dream and a desire to become a social climber.

Eileen’s obsession with bigger homes, better friends, and higher paying jobs begins to drive a wedge between her and Ed. As time passes, Eileen and her son Connell begin to notice that Ed is exhibiting some disturbing behavior, behavior that can’t be easily explained away. When confronted with a devastating diagnosis, the family tries desperately to hold together.

This book is epic in scope. It’s a bit of a chunkster (600+ pages) and covers decades of the American experience. It’s got humor, it’s got heartbreak, it’s got a little bit of everything. I find myself without the appropriate words to describe how I feel about this book, so I’m resorting to comparisons. Cool? Cool. Okay. If you liked Angela’s Ashes (review), Still Alice (review), or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (review), you should check out We Are Not OurselvesJust trust me on this one, okay?

Tell me Bookworms. Do you dig sweeping family epics?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*



11 Responses to “We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas”

  1. Andi (@estellasrevenge)

    Ooohh, you and Shannon are split on this one. I have no idea if I’ll like it, but I have a big beautiful copy of it that I’ll be diving into soon. And this! “I am a cantankerous old mule whose opinions will not be tamed.” Totes LOLed.

    • Words For Worms

      Shannon made some really good points in her review, and I can see where she’s coming from. I still liked it, obviously, so I’ll be interested to see where you fall. And I can’t help but speak the truth. My mule-ish-ness knows no bounds.

  2. Sarah @ Sarah's Book Shelves

    This one got off to a slow start for me, but I ended up loving it. It was incredibly emotional and powerful….even if I was a bit drained by the end (some parts are just tough to read!). Though I loved it, I did agree with some of Shannon’s points…particularly that the section on Eileen’s childhood was too long and I couldn’t really see the point of it.

    • Words For Worms

      Yeah, I was hoping they’d follow some of the characters from Eileen’s childhood more. Like cousin Pat. I mean, we know he didn’t die, but we really didn’t get any detail about how he turned out. Bummer.

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