When God Was a Rabbit

When God Was a Rabbit

Book rating: 03 Paperback Review

By (author) Sarah Winman

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  • Publisher: HEADLINE REVIEW
  • Format: Paperback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 188mm x 26mm | 240g
  • Publication date: 1 July 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0755379306
  • ISBN 13: 9780755379309
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 156

Product description

1968. The year Paris takes to the streets. The year Martin Luther King loses his life for a dream. The year Eleanor Maud Portman is born. Young Elly's world is shaped by those who inhabit it: her loving but maddeningly distractible parents; a best friend who smells of chips and knows exotic words like 'slag'; an ageing fop who tapdances his way into her home, a Shirley Bassey impersonator who trails close behind; lastly, of course, a rabbit called God. In a childhood peppered with moments both ordinary and extraordinary, Elly's one constant is her brother Joe. Twenty years on, Elly and Joe are fully grown and as close as they ever were. Until, that is, one bright morning when a single, earth-shattering event threatens to destroy their bond forever. Spanning four decades and moving between suburban Essex, the wild coast of Cornwall and the streets of New York, this is a story about childhood, eccentricity, the darker side of love and sex, the pull and power of family ties, loss and life. More than anything, it's a story about love in all its forms.

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Author information

Sarah Winman grew up in Essex. She attended the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art and went on to act in theatre, film and television. WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT is her first novel. She lives in London.

Customer reviews

By Emma Long 11 Dec 2012 5

loved this book, was like nothing i had read before, would recommend it highly

By Mohammed Talat Ebrahim 06 Aug 2012 2

The titles says it all When God Was A Rabbit, that's when the book was great but after the rabbit died it was just plain terrible. Sadly part 2 is more than half of the book so just avoid it and pick something that is more interesting. I swear God last chapters were like a CHEAP british family drama tv series. I'm sure there are other better books than this one. Again, save yourself and pick something else. I also fogot about the brother sister relationship, I didn't see that much of a relationship to caption the book with it.

By Maggie Swithenbank 29 Nov 2011 2

The rabbit didn't last too long...too bad as I was enjoying that part of the story more than the relationship between brother and sister and their friends. I had really high hopes for this book to be the next one for our book club, but think it rambles quite a lot and there's no point to it...I think it was a bit presumptuous of the author to use 911 as a catalyst to move the story further...didn't need it.

By Sarah Nagel 10 Nov 2011 2

I felt the blurb was misleading - a story about a brother and sister, but all you got from reading this book was everything from the sister's point of view. The way it was written made me feel nothing for the brother or their bond. Perhaps if this was written in the third person it may have been more successful.
It was also too drawn out - too much rambling - I'd had enough by about 3/4's of the way through and really had to push myself to finish it.
There were however some lovely descriptive passages that I enjoyed.

By Rachel Bowyer 07 Nov 2011 3

This is quite a nice book, especially when the main characters are children. However once they grow up it is all a bit lacklustre.

At times it felt like reading something by someone who is trying to explain something to you and they assume you know everything they already know. There are often sentences which are written like 'she felt like this because of, you know, well you know right?', sometimes it is so vague you don't know what is being referenced and leaves you wondering what you have missed.

I had high hopes for this book, it might be worth a read but I wouldn't have bought it in hindsight.

Review quote

'Gloriously offbeat... Winman's narrative voice is beautifully true, with a child's unsentimental clarity. A superb debut' The Times 'Beguiling... you can't quite get the voice out of your head' Daily Mail 'Captivating... rendered with an appealing frankness, precision and emotional acuity' Observer 'Thronging with incident, wonder and outre language... sharply funny, whimsical and innovative' The Guardian