When God Was A Rabbit

By Sarah Winman.

When I picked up this book, in a charity shop, I knew nothing about it. It was the slightly quirky title that caught my attention. Don’t let the mention of God in the title put off the unreligious amongst you. I give nothing away saying that God is the name given to a child’s pet rabbit in the story.

In When God Was A Rabbit, Sara Winman tells us about a brother and sister growing up, finding their way in the world. Through more than 40 years, from 1968, Siblings Elly and Jo’s lives take very different paths, but through it all they are always there for each other. It’s not simply a tale of growing through childhood, but how they continue to grow through their adult lives too. We hear about not only their relationship with each other but how they support each other in other relationships too.

There are a few intimate moments in the book which contribute to the story. None are gratuitous or sexually explicit and each is handled carefully, in a way that the touchy aspects are unlikely to offend more sensitive readers.

One of the highlights of the book, for me anyway, are the letters, after they have grown to adulthood, between Elly and her childhood friend, Jenny Penny.

Sensitive readers will be lifted up and brought down by Sarah Winman’s story. She will make you laugh and a few pages later bring you down to earth with a, sometimes bruising, bump, You find yourself in the characters minds. Even the most stoic reader will, I think be touched by some elements of Sarah Winman’s debut novel.

Whilst in the charity shop where I found this novel, I of course read the extracts and review summaries on the back cover, though readers of my other reviews know I review subjectively, so don’t always agree with the professional reviews. This time I do. When God Was A Rabbit has some genuinely funny moments; I was chuckling within the first few pages.

A real gem.

“If we can accept the laws of the universe, the ebb and flow of joy and
tragedy, then we have everything we need to embrace our true freedom.”


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