Sunday, 22 January 2012

REVIEW:- Sarah WINMAN - “When God was Rabbit“

Year Published: - 2011
Where the book was from:- Kindle edition
Pages: - 352pp
Genre: - General / romance / family life
Location:- London, Cornwall, New York
How I came across it: - Recommended by a fellow blogger (wish I could recall who so as to thank them!!)
Rating: - ***** *****

Three sentence summary:- A book about life that defines the cliché word 'unputdownable'. This is the book I wish I had written.  Buy it!

Describe the plot without giving anything away:- Elly, the writer of the story, begins as a small child but at no time is she short of experience of life. The key relationship which the book explores through her eyes is that with her brother but the themes of friendship, growing-up, family, being gay and being guilty are among many others which are brilliantly exposed. It would be hard to describe the plot without spoiling it for you and I really think this book should be on everyone's TBR list.

General comments:- Despite being full of unconventional relationships and a marvellously novel approach to writing almost all the characters are recognisable as people I've met and known. Like the very best 'first person' books there comes a time when you wonder just how much of Elly is Sarah Winman herself. Whether she had experienced some of the situations or not they are all wonderfully credible and the book, like her life, is a book of two halves. The first half is gently humorous with some black undertones and hidden secrets. When God said 'Ouch. S**t that hurt.' I was in stitches. Elly's decision to vary the script of the school play had me in tears of laughter. The second half is darker and my tears were not of laughter but of sympathy as disaster struck.

“He who has a why to live for, can bear almost any how,” I said solemnly. “That's Nietzsche,” I continued with emphasis.

“You said I could be anything I wanted when I was older,” I said.
She smiled and said, “And you can be, But its not very easy to become Jewish,”
“I know,” I said, forlornly, “I need a number.”
And she suddenly stopped smiling.

My mother was beautiful. She had lovely hands that lifted the conversation when she spoke, and had she been deaf, her signing would have been as elegant as a poet speaking verse. I looked at her eyes: blue, blue, blue; same as mine. I sang the colour in my head until it swamped my essence like sea water.
(Fancy being able to write English like that - Hilary Mantel won a Booker Prize and this book got nothing.  Life is unfair.)

 He could never understand what Nancy saw in her, and all she ever said was that K.H. Had amazing inner beauty, which my father said must be extremely hidden, since an archaeological dig working round the clock would probably have found it hard to discover.

… suddenly veering away from the script. …. (I can't put this one in without spoiling it for you but it's the quote of the book for me!!)

She darned our socks, patched our jeans, and even the tooth fairy refused to reimburse me for a particularly painful molar, even when I left it a note saying that every additional day accrued interest.  

Three months before, he’d fallen in love with a holiday-maker from Beaconsfield and had stopped his (therapy) sessions immediately, giving credence to the myth that love cures everything (except perhaps the settlement of an outstanding bill).

And I wrote about what I’d lost that morning. The witness of my soul, my shadow in childhood, when dreams were small and attainable for all. When sweets were a penny and god was a rabbit.

AUTHOR Notes:- Actress Sarah Winman grew up in Essex and now lives in London. 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 published novel though not the first she has written. Come on, someone, publish her as yet unpublished first book, please. And Sarah – we need more from you please..

New or unusual words - nil

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