(Disclaimer: English is my second language, so I want to apologize in advance for there may be mistakes in the text below. If you find any, please let me know so that I can correct it. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.)
Review Soundtrack: I suggest reading this review while listening to Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), by David Bowie (Spotify, YouTube).
I am a huge fan of Daryl Gregory since I read Raising Stony Mayhall, one of my favorite novels of the 21st Century. I am also a huge fan of novellas, so deciding to read (and review) We Are All Completely Fine was a no-brainer, especially coming from such an awesome publisher as Tachyon Publications.
In addition, the synopsis of the book was really intriguing. A number of survivors of different traumatic events (one of them was almost eaten by cannibals, another one escaped a serial killer, and so on) get together in a therapy group, in order to overcome their psychological sequels. Obviously, this will lead to discovering some surprising (and disturbing) facts.
One of the things that stands out when reading We Are All Completely Fine is Gregory's unusual choice for the narrator. The novella is told in the first person of the plural (something hinted at even in the title of the book). This is a bold decision, but it completely suits the theme of the story and the author masterfully manages to make it work seamlessly, especially after some plot twist near the end of the book.
It is also amazing how metaliterary this book is. There are many references to the work of a certain, extremely famous horror author, but that is not all. One of the characters is suspiciously similar to the protagonist of a series of books which are very popular in the world of We Are All Completely Fine, something that might be just a coincidence (or not). But, you know what? Daryl Gregory is publishing one of those books, under the title of Harrison Squared, in spring next year. How cool is that? You simply don't get more metaliterary than that.
Despite my deep admiration for the way We Are All Completely Fine is written, I confess that I had some problems with the story. For instance, I found the beginning of the book a bit lagging in some places, with the actual plot only starting when you are almost halfway through. But my main issue was with the characters. They are so eccentric and cold (an intended effect, doubtless) that it was impossible for me to empathize with them. Oddly enough, none of them is as human as Stony Mayhall, the lovely zombie.
Anyway, We Are All Completely Fine is a very interesting novella and I recommend reading it. The metaliterary world that Gregory has created is full of possibilities and I am eagerly awaiting for more of his stories. And, of course, especially for Harrison Squared.