The backstory: Jackie's review made me eager for the U.S. release of this one.
The basics: It's challenging to sum up a unique and quirky novel, but at its most basic, When God Was a Rabbit is the story of Elly and her brother, who grow up in England in the 1970's. It follows them over four decades.
My thoughts: Let's start with the basics: I loved this book, but it's not for everyone. Winman's writing is remarkably fresh and unusual, and her characters follow suit. If I were a bookseller, I'd be hard pressed to find a match for the "if you liked this one, then try this one" display. If pressed, I'd build a display of McSweeney's writers. If unique, original, funny, serious, and completely engaging are your thing, then stop reading and pick up When God Was a Rabbit.
For years I loved coming of age novels (especially as I was coming of age.) Then I began to enjoy them less, as they became a bit more emotionally predictable. I'm hesitant to read coming of age novels, but Sarah Winman may have cured my hesitation. The key is to have the magic When God Was a Rabbit has: to be a coming of age novel that is not just a coming of age novel. The humor is somewhat dark, but the emotion is always authentic.
The verdict: When God Was a Rabbit was an impressive and wonderful debut. I will eagerly await Sarah Winman's next novel.
Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
Length: 296 pages
Publication date: May 10, 2011
Source: I received a copy from the publisher for review via TLC Book Tours
Want more opinions? You can find the full tour here. Already convinced? Treat yourself! Buy When God Was a Rabbit in hardback from Amazon or for the Kindle.
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