When God Was a Rabbit
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When God Was a Rabbit

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  18,006 ratings  ·  1,981 reviews
This novel is a mesmerising portrait of childhood and growing up; the loss of innocence, eccentricity and familial bonds. Stripped down to its bare bones, it's the story of the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.
Hardcover, 325 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Headline Review
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Faye
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...more
Bonnie
OH MY GOD WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF WHYYYYYYY??!?!?!?!?

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...more
Sharon
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...more
Lisa (scarlet21)
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...more
Chandler
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...more
Tea Jovanović
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 :)
Mark
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...more
Ben
Mar 11, 2013 Ben rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...more
soul
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...more
Jules
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...more
Elizabeth
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
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...more
christa
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...more
Mia Queen
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...more
indri
#2011-45

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...more
JChipol
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;...more
Hannah Webster
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Josephine
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...more
Galina
Тази книга ме измори емоционално, но ме измори без да ме отегчава, което е много важно. Приех историята повече от присърце и няма как да е по различен начин, защото през поне половината страници, това беше и моята история. В друго време. На друго място. Заобиколена от други хора, но моята история.
Чела съм по-хубави книги. Романи, които са ме карали щастливо да се усмихвам при мисълта, че някой пише точно толкова иронично, колкото на мен ми се ще да чета. Разгръщала съм глави трескаво, с почти ст...more
Sarah Alderson
this book is so awesome. Loving it.
Nadine Millar
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
Grace Harwood
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
Carole
Eleanor Maud, born in 1968, is the narrator of this story, she’s the sister of Joe who is 5 years older and he was different to other boys his age; "an exotic creature who secretly wore his mother’s lipstick at night, it was his outlet against a conservative world, the quiet rebellion of a rank outsider."

The book is rich with eccentric characters, including her best friend, Jenny Penny, who would pull a coin out of her arm and Arthur, (came to stay and never left) who knew his exact date of deat...more
Andrea
3/5

I mostly enjoyed this book, but I had some major issues with it, reason why at first I thought I wasn't going to like it but it progressively grew on me as I continued reading.

The book is divided into two main parts which Elly, the protagonist and narrator, depicts in the preface as the two main periods in her life; the first one being her childhood, and the second her late twenties, early thirties. I thought the second part was considerably better; I found most of the events in the first par...more
Jmm
Jun 03, 2011 Jmm rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like Alice Hoffman
While some spend their adult lives running away from their memories of childhood, others embrace them. Sarah Winman's When God Was a Rabbit amazingly captures both such struggles as experienced by Elly who looks back and describes the array of people who loved, harmed, confused, and helped her in her journey through the wilderness of growing up. Through an odd assortment of family, friends, and neighbors, Elly lets us remember that time of childhood innocence before we understood what all those...more
Leonie
Didn't like this. At first I thought the problem was the dodgy similes and various unskilfull literary flourishes. Then I thought the bigger problem was the book's anxiety to be Deep and Meaningful without the depth or finesse to power it. Then I realised the biggest problem of all was that the author had no idea what the novel was about, and the vagueness of the blurb, from which I gathered that the book was touching and true on the subject of childhood and family, was explained. Some books can...more
Misha
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
Jes Adams
I did not enjoy this book at all and found it incredibly disappointing.

I thought the characters were one-dimensional and uninteresting. I didn't feel anything for any of them so wasn't excited about finding out what happened next.

I thought the narrative was distracting and dull. I got the sense the writing style was trying to be engaging and intriguing: the author would introduce a concept or object but only refer to it in really vague terms and then fully explain things a few paragraphs or page...more
B
I found this book to be really uneven. I LOVED the first hundred pages, cared less about the second hundred pages and found my interest totally waning by the final 100 pages. The first hundred is great - it creates a sense of nostalgia for childhood and produces some scenes so unexpectedly funny that I found myself laughing out loud over and over again. Honestly - the nativity play is one of the funniest things I've ever read. Things in the second third of the book takes a more serious turn and...more
Rula Bilbeisi
When God Was a Rabbit
Sarah Winman

What a busy story this has been! There were too many events that could possibly happen in one person’s life. This kept me drifting from one topic to another without actually reaching a sensible end, but in a manner that trivialized the event itself. While reading these 300 something pages, you go through family relationships to child abuse, gays and lesbians, winning big prizes, miracles of people found and restoring sights, kidnapping, eccentric characters, and...more
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2014 Reading Chal...: * When God was a Rabbit (3/1/12) 24 47 Mar 11, 2012 07:29PM  
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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.” 60 likes
“And he uncovered in us a curious need: that we each secretly wanted him to remember us the most. It was strange, both vital and flawed, until I realised that maybe the need to be remembered is stronger than the need to remember.” 54 likes
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