Monday, May 23, 2011

When God Was A Rabbit - Sarah Winman - Review AND Giveaway

When God Was A Rabbit marks the debut of author Sarah Winman.

From the publisher Bloomsbury:

"This is a book about a brother and a sister. It's a book about secrets and starting over, friendship and family, triumph and tragedy, and everything in between. More than anything, it's a book about love in all its forms."

Elly is the sister and Joe the brother. And in between are their parents, Elly's friend Jenny Penny, assorted lodgers and god the rabbit.

Young Elly's early loss of innocence in the first few chapters and her brother's promise to protect her always sets the tone for the sibling's relationship. We follow the siblings from 1968 England through to New York 9/11 in the second half of the book. Winman has crafted a novel that kept me off kilter but quickly turning pages from start to finish. The characters are off beat, but the bonds to those they love are undeniably strong. Every character seems to be a step out of time with the rest of the world.

"'That's a good thing, isn't it? To stand apart and be different?' he said.  'I'm not sure' I said, quite aware of my own muted need to fit in to somehow simply hide. 'I don't want people to know I'm different'. And I looked up and and saw my brother standing in the doorway."

And they are different - but in a good way. I found the story of young Elly and Joe to be especially poignant. However, they didn't evoke the same reaction in me when they were older in the second half. That's not to say that the story unfolded in the latter part of the book is no less emotional. It is, but I think it was the loss of innocence on so many levels by the younger characters that was the most heartbreaking. There are many sad moments in this story, but there are just as many funny ones. The secondary cast, particularly the parents and lodgers were favourites of mine. Their acceptance of any and all and their inclusion of those on the periphery into their family endeared them to me. I found the use of god the rabbit throughout Elly's life to be an unique allegorical device.

Winman explores relationships of all sorts with a deft and original hand. But her description of the love between a brother and sister is especially well drawn. An unusual and totally original debut. It will be interesting to see where Winman goes next with her writing.

Sound good? Well, thanks to the publisher I have one copy to giveaway to a lucky reader. Open to US and Canada. Simply leave a comment to be entered. Ends Sat. Jun 11 at 6 pm EST.

Check out what other bloggers thought on Winman's TLC book tour.

57 comments:

debbie said...

This sounds like a good book, I would enjoy reading it.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

LisaMM said...

Great review! I love sibling stories and this one sounds fantastic. Thank you so much for being on the tour!

Kay said...

This one sounds like something I'd enjoy or at least would like to try. Drop my name in the hat, Luanne.

janezfan (at) yahoo (dot) com

Vidisha said...

Sounds great!!!

vidishamun@gmail.com

traveler said...

Thanks for this great giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

PoCoKat said...

Sounds good, please enter me.

littleone AT shaw DOt ca

LBC said...

I love to enter to win. Laura@ The Scarlet Letter.

hawthornescarlet (at) gmail (dot) com

Tiffany Drew said...

I have seen this around and it looks like a great read. Thank you for the chance to win a copy, it is on my wish list!

jaidahsmommy(at)comcast(dot)net

Martha Lawson said...

I love the title!! Please enter me for this one.

gfc follower.

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Charleydog said...

Please enter my name in the giveaway for the book. Thanks!

pboylecharley AT hotmail DOT com

Charleydog said...

Please enter my name in the giveaway for the book. Thanks!

pboylecharley AT hotmail DOT com

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

This sounds really interesting. I'm always impressed with writers who nail it on their debut. You're right; it does make one wonder how they'll follow the act. Thanks for the review!

Julie W said...

I am definitely adding this book to my TBR list. It is not something I think I would normally pick, but your review has made it sound like a really good read so I'm in :)
jwitt33@live.com

Margie said...

Thanks for the giveaway--sounds good!
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

AmandaSue said...

I love this title LOL!

unforgetable_dreamer_always (at) hotmail (dot) com

ktgonyea said...

Would LOVE to read this one :)

ktgonyea at gmail.com

Meredith said...

Would love to read this. I expect the first half was hard to write, and probably a lot harder to read when dealing with such a sensitive topic.

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Amy (ArtsyBookishGal) said...

I'd love to read this book!

Amy // amyismyfriend at aol dot com

rubynreba said...

Sounds interesting how she explores relationships.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Judy H said...

Thank you for the giveaway.

headlessfowl at gmail dot com

Amy said...

This sounds like a captivating story about siblings and slighlty different than the many family dramas found in books. Your review piqued my interest in this book!
Please enter me in this giveaway.

Thank you for hosting a giveaway of this book!
Aimala127(at)gmail(dot)com

nfmgirl said...

Sounds interesting! Please count me in. Thank you!

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

Graciegreen said...

I love to read and you recommend some good books...Thanks!

tillienedeau@gmail.com

a real librarian said...

I've heard lots about this one! Thanks for the chance to win!!

areallibrarian[at]gmail[dot]com

shanaelyse said...

This sounds different from the types of books I usually read, but I've heard good things about this one!

shanaelyse@gmail.com

Graciegreen said...

The name of this book makes me think of my grandson who is moving from one town to another...he is upset because the mascot for his new school is a Rabbit! He was a Tiger...

tillienedeau@gmail.com

Mary said...

I would love to read this one!

mryward(at)yahoo(dot)com

Mel said...

Thanks for the great review!

mel1212(at)hotmail(dot)ca

slb3334 said...

Looks like a good book.

slb3334@gmail.com

Carol said...

I'm intrigued.

chipotlecraving(at)gmail(dot)com

Nicole C. said...

I would love to read this book.

choateorama(at)gmail(dot)com

Rita M said...

This sounds like a very interesting read - thanks for the opportunity.
rmelton[at]hotmail[dot]com

Christina said...

Christina - xristya@rock.com - Not only is this a striking title but this sounds like a wonderful book!

dwarzel said...

Count me in, please!

dwarzel at hotmail.com

littlelatina said...

This sounds like a great read

turboterp said...

Your review has me very intrigued... I'd love to read it! Thanks.

Margaret said...

I'm the last of 7 children in my family so I can relate to sibling stories and then some. Thanks for the giveaway!

Margaret
singitm@hotmail.com

Cheryl F. said...

I would love to read When God Was A Rabbit :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!
theluckyladybug[at]gmail[dot]com

crystletellerday said...

id like to win crystletellerday@yahoo.com

linett said...

would be a great book to read, thanks

Maureen said...

It looks like a great book.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

wgbc1446 said...

This sounds like a very good book! Thanks for the chance to win! wgbc1446[at]yahoo[dot]com

mom2girls said...

wow, sounds amazing, I would love to read this book this summer!
tracyschultz@yahoo.com

Dolly said...

Wow, this sounds really amazing! I'd love to read this one, and I've not heard of it before - thanks for letting us know of it. jcsites2002 at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I would like to read Sarah Winman!

theyyyguy@yahoo.com

April said...

Count me in...

ChristyJan said...

Sounds great ~ please enter me

hawkes(at)citlink.net

susansmoaks said...

i would love to read this
susansmoaks at gmail dot com

Debbie Kennedy said...

I got goose bumps reading your review. I think this would be enjoyable and moving to read.
cleaningrhouse at yahoo dot com

christal c said...

I would enjoy reading this book
willdebbie97 at yahoo dot com

purango said...

I would love to read this book. It sounds great. garrettsambo@aol.com

dvice12 said...

This looks great

/\Heather/\ said...

I love me some rabbits! This sounds like a good story!
heatherpooh (hotmail)

Patti V said...

Please enter me. This sounds very good.

Swtlilchick said...

This seems to be a warm and endearing
book.I would love to read about this
brother and sister.Thanks for the
giveaway

CharlieGurl57@aol.com

Deadmonkeys90 said...

count me in
deadmonkeys90@yahoo.com