“Everyone had a story of grief. Everyone else’s was worse than yours.”―
Title: When God was a Rabbit
Genre: Fiction / YA
Publisher: Tinder Press
Author: Sarah Winman
A British actress and writer, Sarah Winman impressed with her debut novel When God was a Rabbit. It received numerous awards including the 2011 Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award and the 2011 Galaxy National Book Award for Galaxy New Writer of the Year. Her other two published works are A Year of Marvellous Ways and Tin Man.
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“… I wrote about … my childhood, when dreams were small and attainable for all. When sweets were a penny and god was a rabbit.”―
“the need to be remembered is stronger than the need to remember.”―
Lasting impression on me:
The author has strangely written a dark yet comic first novel which satirizes growing up with the utmost whimsical thought. This is one of the best stories I have read about the most dysfunctional yet normal characters who made me weep buckets with their endearing-ness. The ritualistic self consciousness that comes with growing up with the heart wrenching miseries that a child encounters and the bravado with which they try to navigate life through – this is what is the core of the book!!!
I loved how she narrated the aftermath of 9/11 as if she personally experienced it. I had seen it all in the news on the TV and could relate to it but her description of it and how she wove it through the lives of her characters, stood out for me.
Of all the characters, the one who really stole my heart is Jenny Penny who is such a mystery by the way Winman has kept her on the periphery of the entire tale. She is an important part of Elly’s story but not everything is known about her. Just bits dished out miserly which hint at a troubled life of a child desperate to be loved.
Not all is dark in the novel and the whimsical humor that is bound in this tale is just amazing. First its through the precociousness of 4-year-old Elly and her description of life, events and people. Then the comic character sketches of the actors in this story, each with their tell-tale quirk will make you laugh out aloud at the oddest moments.
“When we left the house both my mother and father had shed a tear as their beloved son walked out into the cold night air dressed as a daughter, unsure as to what he might return as. That, my father would later say, was one of the unexpected gifts of parenthood.”―
There are so many tragedies and all happen just when the world has righted itself up again for the characters, that one is forced to wonder if this is all too contrived. But that’s where the magic in Winman’s writing lies. She has made excellent use of the light and shade to present a tale full of love and growing up.
With all the tragedies and dark moments, life shines through with the cheekiest humor and quirkiness that made this one of the best reads of the year for me and I am giving it a 5/5 star rating!! . Sarah Winman has etched out every character as if she has a bucket list of people she wants to live her life through. She gets into their heads so effortlessly, making them relatable and people one would want to make friends with. Don’t miss out on reading this book!!
Don’t miss out on my review of Tin Man by Sarah Winman
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