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“Loved this book - magical but not fantastical. Marvellously entertaining, poignant (in the true sense of the word) and wonderfully warm. Do I sound like a rubbish book reviewer yet?
“A quiet girl leads an ordinary life in a small town in Essex, and is quietly lured astray by a neighboring “stranger.” In this place where everyone knows everyone else, nobody sees what’s going on except Elly’s brother, who saves her and swears her to secrecy. Elly needs a confidante of course, and her best friend's either the girl with untameable hair or the pet rabbit she names, rebelliously, “god." The rabbit's name causes some trouble in Sunday school of course and provides an intriguing sense of continuity as Elly grows up, her friend disappears, and the rabbit doesn’t.
The first half of Sarah Winman’s When god was a rabbit reads like a memoir of Elly’s childhood—the brother who doesn’t fit in; the new home where Elly doesn’t fit; the strangers who slowly become friends after the family moves to Cornwall; and the things we carry with us even when everything has changed. The voice is consistently gentle and humorous, making this a very pleasing and poignant read. A fine cast of characters is collected togethe, from the Lesbian aunt with the slightly mysterious past to the awkward childhood friend with the mysterious future. Lodgers larger than life weave onto the page, and the traumas of abuse or homosexuality almost seem incidental as the characters grow up in the book’s second half—just part of a larger life lived larger than life.
The rabbit speaks, as does a child eventually. The present day is more than the present day’s preoccupations. And in the end it’s not just Elly who might choose to tell or keep secret the shadows of the past. But the promise of the future calls throughout this lovely book, laugh-out-loud funny, heart-breakingly sad, deeply enthralling, and tellingly real.
Disclosure: My wise sister-in-law suggested I read this.”
“A book that left me with many questions about the main character. I never truly grasped the relationship with her and her childhood friend. There were, however, many unusual and well-drawn characters that came into her life. It seemed as if her parents guest house was a haven for an intriguing set of people who were all drawn there for one particular need or another. I never really engaged with the main character and found the "loss" of her brother after September 11th a bit of a reach. Having said that, it was well-written with an intriguing plot. ”Deborah Middleton wrote this review Sunday, June 24, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“enjoyed it”Mamagoose wrote this review Tuesday, June 19, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“While I enjoyed the story and was eager to find out what was going to happen, this book did not live up to my expectations. It is described as a love story between a brother and a sister, but aside from a few moments throughout their lives, they don't strike me as the closest of siblings. And I found there to be more insight into the narrator's relationship with other secondary characters than her brother. I also found the story significantly less captivating and endearing in the second part. They were much more interesting and engaging as children.
I also found the writing style to leave something to be desired...a lot of chopped up sentences and forcing the reader to guess who the narrator is talking about - "I knew 'he' had just entered the room" or "I instantly recognized 'her' voice". That can be good for effect every now and then, but not every time.
All in all, I was a little bit disappointed...being a little sister myself, I was looking forward to reading a story about the loyalty and love between big brother and little sister, and this novel fell short. ”
“Bequeathed to me by a very good friend, I thought it was going to be the sort of book that I couldn't really be doing with, but I was so wrong. WGWAR is a gorgeous story of family, love, loss and childhood innocence. Touched with hints of supernatural madness that, nonetheless, never sound impossible, I was gripped from start to finish. Devour it.”Michael wrote this review Thursday, May 24, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I enjoyed this book, although there were times when I wasn't quite sure if it was fantasy or just the character's imagination - mainly the early parts during the storyteller's childhood. Reading the author's notes at the end certainly helped to understand her take on it, and it was indeed intended to cross over into the world of fantasy in some parts.
The story was beautifully told and the character development and scene descriptions were superb. It was not at all predictable, which I loved, and kept my attention right to the end.”
“So enjoyable I read it in one go.”Suze wrote this review Monday, March 26, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“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. In a remarkably honest and confident voice, Sarah Winman has written 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.”GYPeace wrote this review Thursday, February 23, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I personally found it entertaining, it has a nice blend of humour and sorrow. I love the characters, quirky indeed but perhaps a little more background on them would be nice. However, the story can seem a little disjointed at first with many subplots and you're not really sure where the story is going. I don't think there is ever an actual plot, you're just growing up with Elly and seeing the world through her eyes. There are also elements of magic in this book. It's an easy read I would say. In the end, I truly liked the relationship Elly has with her brother Joe. I could relate to that.”Sarah L wrote this review Thursday, February 23, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No