Asian Writers

June is dedicated to authors with ASIAN of books in this category will be posted all month....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

When God was a Rabbit

Rating - * * *
I am writing the review of this book after atleast 2 months of reading it and as usual my memory is playing tricks -- really what is with that? Is it me or the books not that impressionable? I think its the former, I am just playing lazy and not trying to stress too much (blame it on work, things have become so lethargic there that its casting a shadow on other things as well...)

If i dont stress I remember - Elly (the protagonist), her brother (Joe), her friend Jenny Penny (I was confused about this character, she had problems for sure but they were kind of hard to believe - why did she refuse to meet her best friend in jail?) her brother's gay friend (what was his name? doesn't matter either way), and a few other characters whose name i don't remember (but of course) however their eccentricities I do.

So its promoted as a book that highlights the relationship between a brother and sister - which is true. But it also portrays the crazy life that these two led. It was definitely not normal - I had a normal childhood were things were so predefined that you could predict what and how things would happen from the day you started school till you went to college... There was no psychotic Jew, no weird visitors or relatives in the family, no lotteries to be won and no gay love between anyone. Yes i understand that if it was so normal it wouldnt have been made into a novel, but the amalgamation of so many crazy and untoward accidents to the same group of people is possible only if they had been born with a really bad karma! (if you believe in that)

Also, the 9/11 context has become so overused (books, movies, documentaries...really when is it going to stop?) that it borders on being tacky now. Indeed it was a life altering event and Sarah Williams writes the chapters very subtly, yet its there and so are the ramifications of the event in the book. How Elly's brother loses his memory in the incident and then it all comes back to him (memory, sister and his boy friend...all of them) suddenly is nothing short of a miracle and kills the unpredictability aspect which is the charm of the book throughout. I am not sure why she succumbed to a happy ending that is so unrealistic. What is not understandable in this section is Elly's reaction and lack of empathy for her brother. I was unable to find any justification for it.

I got attracted to it due to its unusual name and was disappointed that the rabbit/god was treated with a lot of indifference and to me it seems that it was almost forced into the book as an after thought.

The book is cleverly written, subtle in style, some remarkable events and some irrelevant ones, some that leave you guessing about their purpose and some that make you nod your head along in agreement. Its a book that you will enjoy but for me I would rather borrow and read than buy it.


  1. You remember more of a book after 2 months than I do! I have to review a book I read last week, and having a hard time of it! :-)

    I think the title was just for commercial reasons. Yes, When God Was a Rabbit refers to the childhood of the children and of their freedom (to name the rabbit whatever they liked) but indeed, it seems an afterthough.

    I did enjoy at least the beginning of the book, and I'm glad I can agree/disagree with other who discuss the book, but this is not one of the best books I read this year. Not in a long way.

  2. Interesting points you raise here. Thanks for your comment on my blog, I have linked your review :)