Book Review: When We Were Alive, by C J Fisher #Legend100

Publisher:  Legend Press   |   Publication date: 1st March 2016

When We Were Alive My Review

When We Were Alive by C J Fisher - coverThe darkly perceptive When We Were Alive is punctuated by an acute, quick-witted observation of three generations, spanning from the 1930’s until the present day.

Through shifting decades, the individual stories of Bobby, William, and Myles set the scenes of history with clarity and originality. The picture conjured from these words is more akin to looking through a personal photo album than holding a book in your hands. As their fate intertwined through the magnificence of time I was utterly spellbound.

In the present, Myles’ reactions to everyday situations is left to run like a tap until his thoughts overflow. His twenty-two year old randomness takes shape in letter form addressed to a mother he never knew. The letters show how he expresses inappropriate emotional responses to those close to him. But his humorous candidness throws light on the shade that marks his life.

William orchestrates personally damaging events in order to experience ‘something’, rather than prolonged nothingness. While he’s intoxicated by alcohol he meets a young woman called Dawn in a corridor of a hotel in Vegas, and subsequently discovers he’s not wearing any trousers. It’s the 1970’s when their story begins. Life may be a struggle, but there’s every possibility it could be bearable.

Bobby is a twelve year old avid magician, practicing illusions, even though he’s crippled with embarrassment when performing for an audience. His lack of confidence leaves him alone, with just the oddity of his parents to keep him company by indulging his pastime. That is until chance meeting with Rose brings him the ‘willing assistant’ he didn’t even know he needed until they met. We follow their uniqueness through the Second World War, and beyond.

Every new chapter sees their personalities grow, as they fail, love, leave, and live. The unpredictable game of life reveals they are shells of people until they can find that elusive something to fulfil them. Even then, it may never be enough.

When We Were Alive is insightful, page-turning perfection. Its incredible vision is one you will want to discover for yourself.

Rating: 5/5

(My eternal gratitude to Legend Press and Tom Chalmers for providing a paperback copy of this book for review, as part of the Legend 100 Club.)

Legend 100

When We Were Alive Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

When we first meet Bobby, he is a shy, 12-year-old magician who falls in love with his best friend. William is consumed with self-hate and drinks to escape the memories of his father’s sadness and his mother’s death. Myles is writing letters to a mother he has never met. Three different people from three different times each explore the dark side of relationships, search for beauty in sadness and try to bear the burden of guilt from living in a world we are powerless to fix.


When We Were Alive Author Profile

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

C.J Fisher has a Master’s Degree in Film from Exeter University, since graduating she has worked as a video editor, movie critic, social media manager, and creative content producer, as well as presenting talks on new media to charities and brands. In her free time she is an avid writer, illustrator and online content creator. C.J vlogs as Ophelia Dagger, with over 30,000 subscribers on YouTube. Her first novel, When We Were Alive, was inspired by events in her own life. For all the latest news, thoughts and announcements, visit C.J s website: or Twitter: @opheliadagger




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s