When God was a Rabbit

Do any of you have a dilemma when it comes to choosing books to take away with you?  There you have it, a few days of uninterrupted reading-bliss, no blogging, no phone, just a bit of sightseeing and a lot of eating and drinking in between. What do you plump for?  Do you do go for for a Count of Monte Cristo/Ulysses-style readathon? Or do you focus on books that you can just dip into easily but that are profound and engaging enough to have something to talk about afterwards?  Both approaches work, and the bf and I were only saying the other day that holidays (of the beachy/swimming pool kind) are often the only time you have to really immerse yourself in classics that have been propping open your doors for years.

This has been a busy year so I have been glad for the easier route this year. (But yes, I will read Anna Karenina one day…) When God was a Rabbit was the perfect choice. It is a comfy read and a charming book which, like all great books, has the great theme of love at its heart. I can’t necessarily lay out the ‘plot’ here as, although many things happen in this book I wouldn’t say that there is any solid plot or clear ‘action’ of any sort. This story is about the people. The love between friends and family but ultimately the love between a brother and sister; very best friends and two people who hold each others secrets, pain, worries and joys deep in their hearts and whose paths into adulthood merely lead to an even deeper and richer friendship.
Without getting too cheesy and sentimental here, as I’ve said in many previous reviews, one of the most important things for me when reading any story is to sympathise with the main characters and here I happily can, a million times over. Although I am the older sibling in  my family, I could identify a great deal with the close relationship between Elly and her big brother Joe in this story as I am very close to my own brother (also a Joe!). It is a relationship that is completely unique and extremely special and I feel very lucky to have it . 🙂 ah. 
We are plunged back into the magic of childhood, where thoughts and feelings are relatively uncomplicated and where God is, well, a rabbit! However, don’t be fooled into thinking that is a simple sweet tale of bunny rabbits and children’s games. There are some serious and quite shocking underlying themes/events in this book that I won’t reveal but that, although traumatic, are very sensitively and appropriately dealt with and Winman manages to maintain the tone of her book whilst keeping us aware of these more serious topics. 
This slightly oblique approach leaves us to fill in the gaps and I was really glad of it. I was also happy that the shine wasn’t taken off the other important topics in the book, particularly the relationships. As well as Elly and Joe we are introduced to some wonderful, incredibly eccentric British characters. Creative and sparkly Aunt Nancy reminds me of my own sparkly bohemian auntie, the delightfully gay and melodramatic Ginger and Arthur put me in mind of myself and my gay-boyfriend and finally, who could forget Jenny Penny. Elly’s quirky childhood friend with unmanageble hair and distinct smell of chips whose fate surprises us all…
Ah…I feel all warm and fuzzy inside…

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