Posted in book review, books

a turtle’s eye view – we are all completely fine by daryl gregory

disclaimer – i received an e-galley of this novel from tachyon publications in exchange for an honest review.

five strangers are drawn together by a psychologist who believes their stories of brushes with evil. not the evil that people are capable of committing against other people, but the evil that lurks just outside of our perception. the evil that is dubbed the paranormal or the supernatural or just the unknown.

martin never takes off his sunglasses, which is not only annoying but disconcerting. barbara is motherly and friendly and tormented by the messages that were carved onto her bones. stan is acerbic and both loves and loathes the fame he acquired after being rescued from the cannibals who were eating him piece by piece. harrison is a storybook hero; a children’s book series about a cop who hunts monsters is loosely based on his actions when he was a teenager. greta is a cypher. is she the haunted arsonist who is guilty of mass murder or is she, in fact, a piece of the evil by which the others are all tormented? these five make up dr. jan sayer’s therapy group. a place of safety for them to talk about what happened to them, to see that they aren’t alone in their strangeness, to come to terms with who they are and maybe have a chance to become someone different.

we are all completely fine is so much more than a supernatural thriller. instead of being monster driven, it’s driven by the five participants in the therapy group. their characters, who they are, who they were, who they might become, they drive the story at a breakneck pace. their fear seeps through every line but their strength does, too.

daryl gregory has written a great tale full of supernatural wonders and scary monsters but he’s also given us a story full of questions. how can we deal with the sometimes world shaking events that happen to us? are we better off shoving our pasts into a tiny little room and bolting the door closed or sorting through the events and trying to put them into some sort of order? is it better that we remain alone or would we be stronger if we allowed someone to help us with the sorting? gregory leaves the questions for us to answer, he does give us a hand with the monsters, though.

four out of five stars