Book Review: When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman
September 20, 2011 46 Comments
After reading the book, I’m afraid I’m going to suggest we do not read this book in my book group.
When God was a Rabbit: What it is about
This book is made up of two parts. In the first part, the protagonist, Elly, is a ten year old girl. In the second part she is an adult.
Elly as a girl finds it hard to make friends until a new girl, Jenny Penny, joins her class. They become good friends. But both Elly and her brother have to say goodbye to their best friends when they move to Cornwall with their parents.
Lots of unlikely things happen to the family and their friends and acquaintances, which continues in the second half. There are several plot lines, most of these ending well.
When God was a Rabbit: What I thought
The beginning of the book was great! I loved reading about Elly and her friend Penny, and the escapades of Elly’s brother. The writing was funny, quirky, and there was always something happening.
Then some way though the book, I started to realise I’d lost the plot. I didn’t know what I was reading, what was going on. Worse even, I didn’t care. The book had lost all its charm for me. Towards the end, there is a plot line in which the brother disappears, and this I enjoyed again.
In the second half of the book, I felt that the main character was an observer without much of a role herself in the story. In the first part, she (and Penny) were the focus of the story, but in the second part, it was all about the people around her. Maybe this was part of the reason that I didn’t enjoy the book anymore.
I didn’t understand the final paragraph of the book and couldn’t work out who “she” was (although in hindsight I think it probably was Penny).
In an Author’s Note, the author explains some of the themes of the book, and tells us what the book is about. For me, an author telling me what the book is about is a big no-no. A book should be able to explain itself, in my view.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
I got this book: from amazon.co.uk. It was a good price and I ordered it at the same time as a book for my husband’s work. My husband said his colleagues were wondering what the book was about and I think I may now be known for reading “strange books”.
I read this in: English, the original language
Number of pages: 344
First published: 2011
Genre: literary fiction, contemporary fiction
Extras: If you want to know more about this book, try Jackie of Farm Lane Books, she understood the book much better than me!
What do YOU think? Is it OK for an author to explain her book?