The blurb: WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT is an incredibly exciting debut from an extraordinary new voice in fiction.
Spanning four decades, from 1968 onwards, this is the story of a fabulous but flawed family and the slew of ordinary and extraordinary incidents that shape their everyday lives. It is a story about childhood and growing up, loss of innocence, eccentricity, familial ties and friendships, love and life. Stripped down to its bare bones, it’s about the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.
My review: This is a lovely book, at times sad and tender but also deeply moving and filled with light bubbles that centre around some of the elderly characters. It’s also about a relationship between a brother and a sister which is touching and something I really related to.
It starts with tragedy and ends well… that would be giving too much away. This book didn’t hook me from the first page. I was disappointed with the story set up, the childhood traumas, I hate to say it but I feel they have been done so many times before. But there was a freshness to the characters, the story follows Elly and her family over two acts. Her childhood in Essex and subsequent move to the Cornish coast. The characters the family attracts are what really makes this book lovely, they are simply yet beautifully drawn.
Nancy, the eccentric, opinionated actress, Elly’s Aunt who is also a fiercely outspoken lesbian is wonderfully funny, as is Ginger an old lady with hidden depths, a great friend to Arthur, a guest who arrived at Elly’s parents B&B and never left.
I was sceptical about this book, I don’t know why but there is something about the book club reads that puts me off buying them, but I’m glad I succumbed to this one. It’s hard to talk of the story without giving bits away so I will say that Sarah Winman has a strong narrative voice and if you like family dramas then give this a go!
7 out of 10 stars! *******
BUY ME! When God Was a Rabbit