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Rabbits for Food

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,450 ratings  ·  275 reviews
It’s New Year’s Eve, the holiday of forced gaiety, mandatory fun, and paper hats. While dining out with her husband and their friends, Kirshenbaum's protagonist—an acerbic, mordantly witty, and clinically depressed writer—fully unravels. Her breakdown lands her in the psych ward of a prestigious New York hospital where she refuses all modes of recommended treatment. ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Soho Press
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,450 ratings  ·  275 reviews


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Felicia
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book did not work for me.

Can we talk about the blurb for a minute? There is nothing laugh out loud funny in or about this story.

No doubt Bunny is a character in every sense of the word. She is irreverent, always speaking her mind, but there's nothing really funny about it. After a while her snark became a bit overboard and gratuitous.

I could only take so much of her narration before it became mundane and skim worthy.

The alternating POVs between first person and third person was annoying at
...more
Diane S ☔
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor-2019
Her name is Bunny, and yes as she is quick to say, that is her real name, not a nickname. She is a writer, a very depressed one. One who at a New Year's Eve dinner with her pretentious friends, does something that lands her in a mental hospital. The reader watches her descension, from depression to not being able to cope at all.

Although it sounds rather depressing, and yes parts are sad, but it is also humorous, witty and told with a great deal of sensitivity. Wry humor at times seems like the
...more
Michelle
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
Bunny is our narrator and Bunny suffers from clinical depression. This book allows us as readers to spend some time in the mind of a clinically depressed person. A person on the absolute brink of losing it.

And she does lose it during a dinner party with friends.

This episode lands her with a stay in a psychiatric facility where she spends her days with the other "loons" as she likes to call them.

You would think this book would be bleak as hell but it surprisingly isn't. Bunny is one cynical
...more
Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

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My first advice to you is to ignore the blurb, as unless you are a very specific type of reader, it is going to give you unrealistic expectations regarding the tone of this novel and what it's actually about. RABBITS FOR FOOD is not a comedy in the usual sense and is unlikely to make you laugh out loud; it is funny, but in the scathing, bleak way that The Cable Guy is funny, or that Cousin Bette is funny-- it's "social commentary as train
...more
Elyse  Walters
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“What time is it? Bunny asks.”
“Nine twenty-three. Albie does not point out that she’d asked the same question when it was nine twenty-one because, as if the previous two minutes never happened, he too, although not word for word, repeats himself”:
“I’d be just as happy to stay home”.

Albie and Bunny - married couple - have New Years Eve plans.... they are the same as they were in 2006, 2005, and 2004.
Last year, Bunny told Albie she’d rather stay home and drink Clorox than go to the party.
This
...more
Lori
Jun 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, vine
Many people have said "Rabbits for Food" is funny, even very funny, so that's what I expected...but I didn't laugh much. It's written in very short chapters that go back and forth in time. The protagonist, Bunny, is a smart woman, a published novelist living in Manhattan with her husband. and suffering from major Depression. One New Year's Eve, at dinner in a pretentious restaurant with some jaded friends, Bunny loses it. She's taken to a psych ward and put on a hold. A lot of the book takes ...more
Jaclyn Crupi
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This will likely be in my favourite novels of the year list. Perfect reading after Juliet the Maniac too as it shows exactly what can be done with this kind of narrative about a disordered mind. I love very funny books about very sad things. Bunny, our protagonist, is acerbic and witty and clever in exactly the ways I wanted her to be. Her depression, grief and neurosis is perfectly rendered. And what Kirshenbaum does so well is the details. The details! This book is glorious. A rare five star ...more
Rebecca
A black comedy about Bunny, a tactless and less-than-successful New York City writer who winds up in a mental hospital on New Year’s Eve 2008, after a restaurant meal with pretentious friends ends with her stabbing herself in the thigh with a fork. Flashbacks and creative writing prompts give glimpses into Bunny’s past – growing up as a slighted middle child, losing her best friend and a beloved cat, her long history with psychiatrists and medication for depression, etc. – in both the first and ...more
Jessica Sullivan
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s New Year’s Eve and Bunny is on the verge of a mental breakdown. Named because her parents raised rabbits for food, Bunny knows that she’s unlikeable. She’s embarrassed to be “suffering” from depression because “suffering” is a word that should be reserved for people in more dire situations than hers.

Rabbits for Food is like The Bell Jar crossed with Ottessa Moshfegh. It’s observational and wry and hilarious: aware of the seriousness of its subject matter, but nevertheless committed to
...more
Sheri
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I am so confused. I feel stupid because I definitely missed something. First of all, “laugh out loud”? Did the person who wrote the blurb actually read the book? This is one of the most depressing books I’ve ever read. Everyone is unlikeable. Memories that are important are never really addressed. And I don’t understand the end AT ALL. Frustrating.
Jan
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Credit to Kirshenbaum for tackling the topic of mental illness, but the tone is uneven and at times jarring. You know how there are mean drunks? The protagonist here is a mean depressive, and no matter how many times she and other characters announce that nobody likes her, it still is painful to spend time with her, and it doesn't make her "humor" any less cruel. And does the protagonist have to be not just mentally ill but a briliiant writer who lives in Manhattan? This wasn't a hate read for ...more
Theresa
Thank you, Netgalley and Serpent's Tail for sending me a digital ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Wow. I wasn't expecting to like "Rabbits for Food" as much as I did. I thought it was going to be a watered-down version of "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath, but Binnie Kirshenbaum really proved she's got a strong writing voice in the form of her mentally fragile protagonist, Bunny.

Bunny is a clinically depressed New Yorker who's sense of reality begins to unravel over the course of New Year's
...more
Dana Mackey
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dark humor in the vein of Ottessa Moshfegh. Super funny if you're into psych ward common room humor (I am).
debra
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Diane S. wrote an excellent review for this title.
Can't count how many times I have relied on Diane S to help me choose my next read and to make "my reviews" so easy to write- as in-"See Diane S's excellent review." : ))
Sunbern
Jul 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
Unfunny, bitter, sarcastic, self-indulgefest
Constance
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a voice! Heartbreaking and hilarious, just the tonic for those times you wanted to slit your throat if you had to spend one more minute with pretentious snobs--like a marriage of The Catcher in the Rye and The Bell Jar.
Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
This book will without a doubt be in my top ten list for the year.

“No matter what is wrong with Bunny, whatever you want to call it, one thing is certain—to be sick in the head is not at all the same as being normal sick. If you are normal sick, people will at least pretend to care.”

Darkly comedic while offering a wry and keen perspective on the strange necessity of human interaction and relationships, Kirshenbaum explores depression and mental anxiety—those invisible disorders of the mind.

I
...more
Lizzie
Feb 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Sylvia Plath’s melancholy meets Liane Moriarty’s humor in Kirshenbaum’s newest novel. An intimate look into the mind of a clinically depressed woman, this book is sure to resonate with anyone who’s experienced hospitalization, depression’s grasp, or how it feels to be unknown.
Sarah
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Fucking wow! I mean, wow!
Sarah
Sep 22, 2019 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, netgalley
DNF @ 26%

(Life is too short not to DNF average books.)
Tracey
Jun 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
A more modern version of Girl, Interrupted, a woman is institutionalized when her general antisocial behavior becomes self-destructive and dangerous. I thought the characters were really well fleshed out. The main character had good reason to hate her family members and neighbors, but her mental illness exaggerated her reactions. Good read.
Kelly
Apr 25, 2019 added it
Shelves: read-in-2019
This book is a brilliant, humorous, and painfully acute look at mental illness. Bunny has a mental breakdown on New Year's Eve and is sent to the hospital for in-patient care. The book follows her observations of fellow patients while chronicling what led her to that place. The depiction of depression is spot on and chilling, while the way that Bunny sees the world is also incredibly funny and dark.

In many ways, this reminds me of The Bell Jar in a more modern setting. There is a meta narrative
...more
Alison Hardtmann
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bunny is depressed and has been depressed her entire life, although she was usually able to function in the world. She hasn't left her apartment in weeks and bathing is an unsurmountable chore. But she is going to make it to the regular New Year's Eve dinner out with their friends and to the gathering afterward, even though her patient and kind husband tells her, over and over, that she doesn't need to.

Rabbits for Food by Binnie Kirshenbaum tells how Bunny's life has been derailed by her
...more
Barbara Bryan
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Heartbreaking and oftentimes funny story narrated by Bunny who suffers, really and truly suffers, from depression. The story starts at her home with her husband Albie and travels forward to a hospital stay and backwards a bit to her childhood.
In the end I am just sad, although fiction it is also quite true.
“ why is everything – the walls, the furniture, the carpet, the curtains – in a spectrum of colors that, in the crayon box, would have names like: Listless, Hopeless, Sour Milk?”
Renae Hinchey
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
I read many good reviews on this book with comments regarding it being brilliant, witty, and hilarious. I found it to be none of these things. Bunny, the protagonist is a published novelist living in Manhattan with her husband. She suffers from depression and is eventually institutionalized when her antisocial behavior becomes self destructive. I listened on Audible and the story was told by Bunny, who I found chatty and unlikable, and not at all humorous. I guess you could call it wry humor, ...more
Julie
RABBITS FOR FOOD allows readers a front row seat in watching the effects of severe depression play out in Bunny's life, our main protagonists, who eventually finds herself in a psychiatric hospital. The narrative zooms both in and out as we experience life filtered through Bunny's perspective while also experiencing Bunny through the eyes of others. Admittedly, Bunny is a tough character to like--even her own family heartlessly chides Bunny that she herself is to blame for no one liking her. ...more
Amy Wallen
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
To laugh and cry out loud simultaneously is my favorite way to read. The main character, Bunny, is clinically depressed and she has opinions on everything. Honesty can be the most hilarious way to get through life. Maybe not the sanest, but at least you're laughing hysterically all the way through the gates of the asylum. And that's where Bunny ends up. My heart swelled and burst over and over for Bunny and her plight. She sees the world as I see it, and I'm sure so many others of us do too. ...more
Elaine
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is not comedy, although there is some very dark humor. Outstanding writing leads us through a story of depression and relationships. Highly recommend.
Lindsay
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Rabbits For Food is an extremely dark and bizarre story about a unlikeable character who suffers from mental illness. Although the dialogue is sometimes sarcastic and witty (and the writer is quite talented), this book is just a bit too weird for me.
Chelsea Gilgore
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Do yourself a favor and read this book as soon as it comes out. I could not put this book down; I was enjoying it so much. If you’re someone who’s ever struggled with mental health, or even if you haven’t, you will relate to Bunny’s logical and witty interpretation of the people and world around her. I laughed at her intelligent and dry humor, cried with her during “treatment” (her air quotes), and felt utter despair when I reached the end of the book. It’s not often a book makes me feel the way ...more
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ACPL Online Book ...: Tragedy plus time 1 5 May 07, 2019 03:47PM  

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Binnie Kirshenbaum is the author of two short story collections, six novels, and numerous essays and reviews. Her work is noted for its humorous and ribald prose, which often disguises themes of human loneliness and the yearning for connection. Her heroines are usually urban, very smart, and chastened by lifetimes of unwelcome surprises. Kirshenbaum has been published in German, French, Hebrew, ...more
“To not want to be alive is not the same thing as wanting to be dead.” 4 likes
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