We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory (book review).

October 25, 2017 | By | Reply More

‘We Are All Completely Fine’ is a novel set in the modern world, where there are few who truly know that supernatural creatures exist. The novel centres around five people who have individually suffered traumatic events. They are brought together to form a therapy group by the psychotherapist, Dr. Jan Sayer.

Harrison was the ‘Monster Detective’, the model for a famous character from a children’s book series who battled monsters as a teenager. Except Harrison really did battle various supernatural creatures and has now retired himself from the horrors of that life. He is now an angry, suspicious, misanthropic insomniac.

Stan is the only surviving victim of a cannibal clan who kidnapped him in his youth. An old man now, he is wheelchair bound without arms and reliant on a steady supply of oxygen. Unlike the other group members, Stan is happy to talk about everything that happened to him in his life.

Barbara is a forty year-old artist, married to a good man with whom she has two sons. During the day she is seemingly unaffected by her past and it is only a night that she relives her kidnapping by the Scrimshander. The man who cut her open and carved her bones before sewing her back up.

Martin is in his mid-twenties and never takes of his dark glasses. He has been living in a state of paranoia after the gruesome murder of his flatmates, by the seemingly harmless homeless man who lived outside their building.

Greta is eighteen and the sole survivor of an all female cult which tragically burned down in a fire. While the police are certain it was an accident, Greta claims that she was the arsonist that killed them all.

Dr. Jan, who has been treating all of them, has convinced them that even though they cannot help themselves, they can help each other. There is friction between the members from the start. Greta refuses to talk about herself, Stan does nothing but talk, Harrison is angry and suspicious of everyone, especially Martin, who refuses to take of his glasses or look at Greta. Barbara is the only reasonable one who does her best to listen and encourage everyone. After a few months, even though there is still a divide between the five, once one of them needs real help, the others step in to finally work together.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘We Are All Completely Fine’, even though it was a novel I felt that all the characters were well fleshed out with engrossing back stories. The novel starts of slow as we get to know everyone and then snowballs towards the end as the true connections between them is revealed. The ending is open for a follow-up novel but I feel satisfied enough with knowing that each group member took a step forward in their journey to heal, even if it might not be the step we would have wanted them to chose.

Writer Daryl Gregory states in his acknowledgements that he was advised by a real-life psychologist and it shows. None of the characters are miraculously healed by their many meetings but, at the end of the novel, each character has embraced who they are.

Supreethi Salvam

October 2017

(pub: Tachyon Publications, 2014. 190 page small enlarged paperback. Price: $14.95 (US). ISBN: 978-1-61696-171-8. Ebook: Price: $ 9.99 (US))

check out website: www.tachyonpublications.com

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Category: Books, Horror

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