When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman
|When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Robin Leggett|
|Summary: This is a book that tugs at your emotions - you'll laugh and maybe cry - but it's told in a winningly sweet and charming voice.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: March 2011|
|Publisher: Headline Review|
When God Was a Rabbit is a book that tugs at the emotions in a sweet but uncompromising way. It's in no way a RomCom but if you are a fan of that genre of film, I would suggest that you might too enjoy this book as it shares many of the traits if not the storyline. The analogy to a movie is apposite too as first time author Sarah Winman's 'day job' is as an actor - she has appeared recently in Holby City, for example.
As a book, it is great fun and a charming read. So what if the main characters are all rather eccentric or at least unusual? They are all charmingly drawn and the narrator's touch is light and amusing. In fact it is the charm of the narrators's voice that is the making of this book and one which may well make it something of a hit.
Throughout it's a book about family, particularly the bond between a brother and a sister, friendship and love. We get almost every kind of 'relationship' including some that are somewhat dubious early on as Winman explores love and sexuality from a variety of angles. It's also a book about childhood memories and the importance of those in adult life.
It's a book told in two parts - the narrator's childhood and then later as a 20 or 30 something year old. Of the two, the first part is by far the stronger. The stories of the young narrator, Elly, and her childhood friend, Jenny Penny, are laugh out loud funny (with a particularly wonderful nativity episode), and touching. Most of Winman's characters are outsiders of one sort or another. The second half does contain some amusing moments, but it's much more serious and at times the two parts don't gel as well as they might. Partly this is down to the relative absence of the wonderful Jenny Penny for reasons that are more than a little surprising. Sensitive readers may well need a box of tissues handy as the sad factor is ramped up, although Winman knows that to achieve an emotional reaction, sadness is always balanced with humour.
It's a book that would be a terrific holiday read (though it's quite a quick read, so take something else too!) and I will certainly read future books by this promising author.
Oh and wondering about the terrific title? Quite simply, a pet rabbit named God - the very essence of the narrator's idyllic childhood memories.
For more books with great and strange titles that live up to their promise, try The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon or A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka.
You can read more book reviews or buy When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman is in the Richard and Judy's Summer Reading List 2011.
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