Book Review: When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman

When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman is a beautiful story of love, in all of its many forms. Sprinkled with moments of humour and times of heartbreak, Sarah Winman takes you on the emotional journey that is life as you turn each page of her debut novel.

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When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman on a windowsill

When God was a Rabbit Blurb:

1968. The year Paris takes to the streets. The year Martin Luther King loses his life for a dream. The year Eleanor Maud Portman is born.

Young Elly's world is shaped by those who inhabit it: her loving but maddeningly distractible parents; a best friend who smells of chips and knows exotic words like 'slag'; an ageing fop who tapdances his way into her home, a Shirley Bassey impersonator who trails close behind; lastly, of course, a rabbit called God. In a childhood peppered with moments both ordinary and extraordinary, Elly's one constant is her brother Joe.

Twenty years on, Elly and Joe are fully grown and as close as they ever were. Until, that is, one bright morning when a single, earth-shattering event threatens to destroy their bond forever.

Spanning four decades and moving between suburban Essex, the wild coast of Cornwall and the streets of New York, this is a story about childhood, eccentricity, the darker side of love and sex, the pull and power of family ties, loss and life. More than anything, it's a story about love in all its forms.

When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman on a windowsill

A review of Sarah Winman's When God was a Rabbit: 

Much like The Nightingale, A Little Life, and Where the Crawdads Sing, When God was a Rabbit is the type of book I can only dream of having the talent to write. Written in such a poetic style, Winman manages to make the mundane beautiful. And she turns a simple story of life into something you just don't want to put down.

When God was a Rabbit follows the Portman family over several decades, and tells the story of Ell and her older brother, Joe. Every character is given the same level of character development, so they each have their own quirks, stories and struggles, making them all the more real and relatable for the reader.

Winman's unique style of writing might not be to everyone's taste, but I found her subtle style gives the reader room to fill in the blanks, without the need for Winman to pad the story with unnecessary description.

Touching on some difficult subjects, When God was a Rabbit explores a variety of themes, from childhood to old age, friendship, family, love, heartbreak, and the difficulties that just come from daily life.

A rare find, When God was a Rabbit is a beautiful, poetic book about life and love.


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Book review: When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman
When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman Book Review

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I'm Shannon. Welcome to Tales from the Country, a countryside lifestyle blog for those who dream of escaping the hustle and bustle of life and about embracing all that comes from living in the British countryside.

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