Thursday 15 September 2011


Book review: When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Headline Review, 336 pages.

Description: This is a book about a brother and a sister. It's a book about secrets and starting over, friendship and family, triumph and tragedy, and everything in between. More than anything, it's a book about love in all its forms.

It's the story of a memorable young heroine, Elly, and her loss of innocence-a magical portrait of growing up and the pull and power of family ties.

From Essex and Cornwall to the streets of New York, from 1968 to the events of 9/11, When God Was a Rabbit follows the evolving bond of love and secrets between Elly and her brother Joe, and her increasing concern for an unusual best friend, Jenny Penny, who has secrets of her own.



While I don't think this book is the literary masterpiece many claim it to be, I do believe it's an extraordinary debut novel that shows a lot of talent for constructing beautiful sentences and creating an engrossing story.

The characters were for the most part interesting and well-rounded, though as Elly grew up I started to feel less interested in her because she became quite a bland and spineless person.

Overall I feel that the novel is over-dramatised with touching upon a whole variation of rather cliched subjects (child abuse, murder, losing a relative and sexuality, to name a few) which on several occasions were added only briefly and seemed to be there just to shock the readers.

I am also not sure what the explanation is behind the coin marked 1995, other than the rather unrealistic foreshadowing of that being the year Elly and Jenny Penny reunite.

 I wish that either it was a storyline more central to the book instead of just a fleeting sentence, or that it had not been mentioned at all. As it stands it just seemed out of place.

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