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When God Was a Rabbit
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When God Was a Rabbit

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  27,645 Ratings  ·  2,651 Reviews
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 fri
Hardcover, 325 pages
Published March 3rd 2011 by Headline Review (first published 2011)
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Lindsey Davidson I totally agree. I couldn't put this book down. It made me laugh and cry throughout.

Community Reviews

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I read these book descriptions. They sound on the far side of boring. They almost scream: "I am literature. LIT-er-a-ture. Pronounced the douchey way, dear. I only bore you because you are dumb. If you were actually an intellectual, you would bow before my literary prowess. Read the New Yorker more, darling."

Whyyyyyyy?!?!? Why do people publish these books? Why do critics RECOMMEND them?!? Why do I read them?!?!? I know the answer to the
Aug 23, 2012 Frankie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hated this in 2013 and i hated it in 2016.
Thought re-reading might change my opinion on it but it didnt at all.
So boring. Had to really force myself.
Aug 10, 2011 Faye rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
I found this book when I was browsing in Kindle store. The title got me. It's a nice title. So I downloaded the sample and found it quite interesting but with a hint of "the style of writing I'm not sure I'd enjoy".
I do like the main story; it's about the love and bond between a brother and sister, a family, friendships and love in all forms. It's a beautiful concept, really. But I'm afraid I cannot say I enjoyed the book as much, let alone reread it.
To me it's like a big jigsaw puzzle and the a
Tea Jovanović
Jun 29, 2013 Tea Jovanović rated it it was amazing
Guilty again :) This book "bought" me with just few sentences and I had to buy the rights and be its editor... :) I had that "something special" feeling I had buying the rights for THE CURIOUS INCIDENT... Unfortunately due to Serbian publisher the book hasn't reached all the readers it should reach... But it's never late! MUST READ! MUST READ! Hurry up! Debut jewel of coming of age novel... :) I rarely come across novels that give me such "discovery of new voice" thrill :)
Kevin Ansbro
Sep 10, 2015 Kevin Ansbro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: family-dynamics
I found this book to be a delightful and compelling read:

Sarah Winman writes lovingly and honestly about family dynamics and human relationships.
Told through the narrative voice of main character, Elly - from infancy through to adulthood - Winman reminds us that life's journey isn't always as smooth as envisaged.
The author draws inspiration from her English childhood, which awakened my own fond memories of that particular era: Fish finger suppers, '70s family game shows and a wonderfully calami
Aug 25, 2012 Sharon rated it it was amazing
I have just started this book and am absolutely loving it. It is a hilarious book, with Ellie being just too sharp and dry with her little asides. I honestly love a book that sucks me in - especially after that nonsense Fifty shades of Grey rubbish. This is one that I will lend, but will always demand to be returned.

Just finished it today. I absolutely LOVED this book. There are some conversations in there that I have marked, as I think they speak such truth. One in particular about the last par
Jun 13, 2012 Chandler rated it really liked it
Shelves: one-of-a-kind
Part One
the story of Elly as a little girl is magical, heart breaking, sweet, sad, funny, and in a few words: literary perfection

Part Two
I feel like, had this part of the novel been removed completely, this book would have been perfect. I think the most fascinating part about stories is not knowing the TRUE ending. About being left at one part of someone's life and imagining just what happened afterwards. By showing Elly as an adult, the mystery was lost and expectations were not met. The wonder
Apr 10, 2011 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing book - if it doesn't win a prize I'll be VERY surprised!
Even though Elly is older than me, much of her childhood resonates with familiarity - watching the Generation Game and shouting out the prizes in excitement, the magic of polaroid cameras, chocolate teacakes and doing the pools! Elly shares not just a deep and binding bond with her brother Joe, but also a sensitivity and awareness of the world that seems to separate them from the world of their peers. They are, in everything, a
Sep 08, 2011 Mark rated it liked it
Shelves: bookclub-reads
Sorry. This review contains a mini spoiler but I couldn't work out how to hide it so if you don't want any giveaway info you'd better ignore this one. However if you are continuing to read, thanks.

Having read this for my local bookclub meeting this evening I am not quite sure what I would want to say. It seems to me that Sarah Winman is not quite sure what she is writing. Is it the story of family relationship both 'nuclear ' and extended, is it a treatise on gay relationships, is it an account
Jun 26, 2011 Elizabeth rated it did not like it
I can imagine that as a writer it is tempting to do too much in one's first novel and I think this is what's wrong with this particular debut. As many have commented, the first section is far better than the second. It is in the first section, however, that we get a taste for the unnecessary and somewhat sloppy storytelling that's to come. It annoys me greatly when an author glosses over the realities of life by making characters incredibly rich. I saw no need for the sudden, imprecise wealth th ...more
Nov 01, 2011 christa rated it really liked it
Coming-of-age novels come with an absolution: They don’t actually have to be about-about anything. They can just be. A series of events, linked or otherwise, that start quirky and end artfully or in some combination of that.

Sarah Winman’s debut novel “When God was a Rabbit” takes advantage of this convention. Technically it’s about a brother and sister; that sister and her best friend; that brother and his best friend with benefits. It has no plot line that looms, waiting to be solved, fixed, r
Mar 26, 2012 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Сара Уинман разказва много увлекателно, без да изпада в многословие, с изключително образен и точен език, кратки изречения и чудесни словесни попадения. Интимните сцени и тези с насилие са само загатнати, но въпреки това оставят тягостно усещане. Разсъжденията през очите на децата са по-малко наивни и повече - затрогващи, мили и мъдри.

Въпреки чудатостите в нея, това е една много топла, човешка и истинска книга, забавна и весела, тъжна и жестока. Книга, в която няма нито една излишна дума, която
Mar 11, 2013 Ben rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ben by: Anna Butler
Every once in a while you read a book that passes straight into your bloodstream, and you are hardly aware of how it happened.

When God was a Rabbit describes itself as the story of a brother and sister, "about childhood and growing up, friendships and families, triumph and tragedy and everything in between...about love in all its forms". That is a perfectly fair description as far as it goes. What it doesn't say is anything of the quiet and kindly magic with which Sarah Winman defines her charac
Firstly, this is a fiction book of two halves. First half I was loving the book and would have given it five stars. Second half – I loved it less so three stars. Rather than go for the average I’ll keep the overall review at three stars. Good book, unusual but messy – I will explain further.
The fictional character of Elly is a real British girl. Born in 1968, she charts her life around popular culture and world events as she becomes self-aware and of what it means to be British, female and part
Flor Méndez
Nov 27, 2016 Flor Méndez rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Me pone muy triste pensar en la cantidad de árboles que murieron para dar vida a este ENGENDRO
Sam Woodfield
I have just finished reviewing this for a major UK retailer. What a fabulous book! I havent read anything in a long time which has made me smile as much as this book, and draw on every other emotion I possess to supplement this.

This story begins in the past, looking at the early lives of the main protagonists, and it is this section of the novel which sets the tone for the remainder of the story and lures you into the lives of the characters within. It is this section of the story which really r
Feb 06, 2016 Miljana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Divna, duhovita i delom tužna priča iz ugla jedne devojčice o životu i odrastanju.
Emer (ALittleHaze)

For this review I use a lot of quotations from the book and I talk a lot about what happened over the first half of the book. If you consider either of those things to be spoilers then I recommend that you read no further :)

‘When God Was a Rabbit’ is a book about love and friendship. It tells the sibling love story of a brother and sister as they go from childhood to adulthood while also being an interesting dissection of family life as seen through the eyes of the y
This is one of those ubiquitous books that I ended up reading mainly because I kept seeing it everywhere, and it turned out to be a lot better than I thought it might be, given its obvious popularity. The plot revolves around Elly, who narrates the story, her brother Joe, and their eccentric family and acquaintances - most notably Elly's best friend, the strange and striking Jenny Penny. The book is divided into two halves - Elly's childhood, beginning in 1968, and her adulthood, from 1995 onwar ...more
Aug 02, 2011 JChipol rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Elly and Joe are "two halves of a whole"; sister and brother. Their shared secrets and longing for acceptance & love binds them together tightly and inextricably. Both have friends that change their lives along the way; including both Jenny Penny, Elly’s childhood friend, and Charlie, Joe’s first love. Both must learn to overcome their losses as well, but Elly knows it’s their relationship and companionship that holds them steady.
When God Was a Rabbit is a story of childhood and growing up;
Grace Harwood
Jan 15, 2013 Grace Harwood rated it did not like it
F Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote "character is plot, plot is character". Sarah Winman in When God Was a Rabbit, however, has decided to forego both. The characters, who could have been so interesting if fully formed, are half-baked, badly drawn, sketch outlines of characters, insipid and vapid, nothing substantial in them at all. The plot just isn't there. Where, I asked myself after nearly 200 pages of reading, is this story going? The answer - I didn't know - and worse - I didn't care. It was ...more
This is a beautiful book. I haven't laughed out loud so often, and with such genuine pleasure, since last year's Comedy Festival. And that's saying something, because this book isn't comedy at all; in fact, much of it is tragic and heartbreaking. But this is what makes 'When God was a Rabbit' unique; a book to treasure. It takes the most difficult situations (child neglect, abuse, first love, loneliness, anxiety, separation and loss) and without making light of any of them, deftly skews the pict ...more
Feb 04, 2012 Josephine rated it it was ok
There’s only one word to describe Sarah Winman’s “When God Was A Rabbit” — disjointed.

If you read reviews on this and see critics describing it as having “an elegiac, simple beauty,” you can’t help but think that book reviewers like that serve only one purpose: to deter you from reading that book.

The story is supposed to be about a brother and sister named Joe and Elly — but mostly, it’s about Elly, who, as a child, is whimsically drawn and makes you excited to read the book.

As we hop, skip, jum
indri juwono
Sep 29, 2011 indri juwono rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama

Rasanya memang nggak biasa kalau kamu punya kelinci yang dikasih nama ‘god’. Atau ‘tuhan’. Atau mungkin kita saja yang nggak terbiasa untuk mengerti sekeluarga yang tidak percaya Tuhan. Mungkin kita bisa bilang aneh. Mungkin juga tidak. Keluarga dengan ayah dan ibu atheis, anak lelaki gay, tante lesbi, anak perempuan dengan rahasianya, sahabat perempuan yang masuk penjara, dan hadiah undian yang amat besar.

Dari awal ceritanya memang agak aneh dan penuh teka-teki. Banyak rahasia-rahasia y
Mia Prasetya
When God Was a Rabbit memiliki magnet tersendiri buat saya, dari judulnya yang 'nakal', cover hangat ditambah dengan latar pasangan siluet laki-laki dan perempuan. Awalnya saya pikir WGWaR adalah buku drama yang manis. Salah besar ternyata :p

When God Was a Rabbit adalah buku drama komedi satir yang kompleks. Pahit sekaligus juga manis. Terbagi menjadi 2 bagian, yang pertama memoar Elly saat ia kecil dan bagian kedua ketika Elly menginjak usia yang ke 27. Tulisan Sarah Winman langsung terasa 'meg
Mar 03, 2012 Hannah rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
juan carlos
Apr 08, 2015 juan carlos rated it it was amazing
Recomendadisimo para mentes que buscan un más allá en un libro!!
Es una novela emotiva y con una belleza que se enfoca en lo cotidiano de la vida, con sus giros que nos transforman y nos hacen reencontrarnos de nuevo con el amor, la familia y en la amistad.
Sarah nos escribió una historia simple y de lectura rápida, pero con matices que la hacen tremendamente inolvidable.
Mi personaje favorito sin lugar a dudas es JOE :), deben conocerlo y les aseguro, les robara su corazón.

Mar 03, 2016 Eva rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Cuando Dios era un conejo" nos relata una historia familiar y de vida desde la perspectiva de Elly, en una primera parte desde el punto de vista de la infancia, y luego ya siendo adulta.
Elegí leer este libro porque el título llamó mi atención y me intrigó. Luego descubrí que ese título tan particular se corresponde en realidad con algo bastante sencillo y trivial en la vida de Elly (el nombre de una mascota, efectivamente), y que sin embargo esconde para mi un significado más amplio.
Cuando Di
Heart-wrenching, funny and moving. There were moments that made me giggle out loud, and moments that brought me near to tears. I don't how to describe the plot; this is just a story about growing up, about family, relationships and life. I was transported into Elly's world experiencing life through her eyes. The characters are unforgettable, each of them equally memorable in their own ways - Elly, Joe, Jenny Penny, Arthur, Nancy, Ginger and even the mysterious talking rabbit called "God". I wish ...more
Sarah Alderson
Nov 24, 2011 Sarah Alderson rated it really liked it
this book is so awesome. Loving it.
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Sarah Winman (born 1964) is a British actress and author. In 2011 her debut novel When God Was a Rabbit became an international bestseller and won Winman several awards including New Writer of the Year in the Galaxy National Book Awards.
More about Sarah Winman...

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“Nothing stays forgotten for long, Elly. Sometimes we simply have to remind the world that we're special and that we're still here.” 75 likes
“Memories no matter how small or inconsequential are the pages that define us.” 69 likes
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