When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman

I bought a few books a while ago and one of them was When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman. The cover was an eye catcher and the title was strange, to say the least. The lines on the back flap didn’t reveal very much, but I was intrigued nonetheless. Today I’m going to tell you what I thought of it!


Okay, I’ll come straight to the point: this book was a bit of a disappointment. I had high hopes of this one as there were some really interesting quotes of praise on the cover and back flap, but unfortunately the book didn’t live up to my expectations.


The story (Goodreads):

In a remarkably honest and confident voice, Sarah Winman has written the story of a memorable young heroine, Elly, and her loss of innocence- a magical portrait of growing up and the pull and power of family ties. From Essex and Cornwall to the streets of New York, from 1968 to the events of 9/11, When God Was a Rabbit follows the evolving bond of love and secrets between Elly and her brother Joe, and her increasing concern for an unusual best friend, Jenny Penny, who has secrets of her own. With its wit and humor, engaging characters whose eccentricities are adroitly and sometimes darkly drawn, and its themes of memory and identity, When God Was a Rabbit is a love letter to true friendship and fraternal love.


It started alright. Sarah Winmans writing is pleasant and modern, and I liked that: it was quite refreshing after having read a few classics. But bit by bit I started to feel quite lost, and not in a good ‘losing-yourself-in-a-novel’ kind of way. A distracted lost. The main characters, Elly and Joe have a really close bond, but for a long time I had the feeling the story of their friendship wasn’t going anywhere. They share a secret and it isn’t clear how this secret, the friendship between Elly and Joe and Elly and Jenny are coming together until the last fifty pages or so.

I never felt complete without him. In truth, I never would.

I’m not completely dissatisfied with this novel (I gave it a 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads) as there were some really beautiful quotes and parts in there. Moreover, I found that the ending was beautifully written

But what could a child say who has started to understand the pain of another?


Sometimes we simply have to remind the world that we’re special and that we’re still here.

So, although this books wasn’t a huge disappointment in the sense that I hated it or gave it just one star, it was a disappointment in the sense that I expected something else and something better.

Memories, she said to me, no matter how small or inconsequential, are the pages that define us.

However, I would like to read other novels by Winman, because I quite liked her writing. A Year of Marvellous Ways is her second and latest book, and it already found its way on my TBR (see Goodreads).

What did you think of When God Was A Rabbit?



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