Tuesday, 1 May 2012

When God Was A Rabbit - Sarah Winman

 Most of the book club really enjoyed this light-hearted novel about relationships between family and friends. We all agreed that it wasn't a very deep book, it probably wasn't ever written to be deeply studied, however, it was a good read.

There were a lot of laugh out loud moments in the book, particularly towards the beginning of the book. We all loved the section about the Nativity play, it was hilarious in parts but totally believable. These highly funny moments were then heightened by the addition of very short moments of darkness. These dark moments tended to be very short, and not especially worrisome, they just served to highlight the lighter moments. We thought that everyone has moments of darkness in their lives, but they are quickly forgotten when a humorous moment occurs. The author seems to enjoy juxtaposing two very different elements in this book, for example the dark and light moments, and also the slightly magical and the completely realistic moments. This is done with a very light hand and makes the book the enjoyable narrative that it is.

We all enjoyed reading this novel because it wasn't full of terrifying or thought provoking drama, there are moments that make you wonder, but not too deeply. The more thought provoking aspects weren't really very overt, they were mostly alluded to which made them less dramatic. We did wonder how wise it was to include present day events such as the 9/11 element, but we came to the conclusion that they were treated sensitively even though they weren't actually necessary.

One element we didn't really understand or see the need for was the big gap in the middle of the novel. We felt that there had been gaps in time during the first half of the novel so there was no real need to make such a dramatic first and second half. Maybe there was a reason we didn't notice.

We enjoyed each of the characters, even though they were slightly one dimensional, with quirky being their main characteristic. They were very dysfunctional and hilarious in the main with the odd moment of sadness thrown in to the mix. Although we noticed that the younger characters seemed to be mimicking the older ones with regard to their relationships, the brother sister plus partner one in particular.

Overall we gave this book 7.5 out of 10

When God Was A Rabbit - Questions


I hope you're all enjoying this months book, i know i am. Here are some questions for you to think about while you're reading:

- In the prologue of When God Was a Rabbit, Elly recalls a coin trick Jenny Penny showed her when they were children. What does Elly learn about faith, loyalty, and magic from Jenny? How does this scene introduce their friendship, and how does it foreshadow the problems that the girls will face?

- Part Two of the novel picks up fifteen years later, in 1995. How has Elly changed? In what ways has Elly failed to come to terms with her past? How will she mend her two closest relationships --- with her brother and with Jenny --- in Part Two?

- Consider the ties among family members, friends, and lovers in When God Was a Rabbit. Which bond seems strongest for these characters: family, friendship, or romance?

See you on Thursday (26th April).

Questions from Reading Group Choices.

These Things Hidden - Heather Gudenkauf

This book was enjoyed by everyone who read it, everyone who started it has finished it or they intend to finish it in the near future. We would all recommend this book to our friends and family as a good easy to read book.

We enjoyed the fact that the chapters were nice and short, plus the narrator changed with each chapter making us want to read on to see how each character was getting on throughout the book. It was interesting hearing each characters different voice, each of which was easily recognisable. It was also interesting to see how each of the characters saw themselves and each other, for example, it was hard to reconcile the two descriptions of Christopher coming from his sister and Allison.

We discussed the role of relationships in the book, those between family members and those between non-blood relations. We thought that Gus was the best at parenting, although he wasn't actually a blood relation to anyone in the book. Unsurprisingly we decided that Charm's mother was the worst at fulfilling her role as a mother, she was far too selfish to care for her children. Having said that Alison and Bryn's parents although they wanted the best for their children, only seemed to take any notice of them when they were achieving things. This did seem to bring out the worst in both girls.

The story is rather contrived but we all enjoyed it non-the-less, it isn't a work of great literature but it is very enjoyable along the lines of a Jodi Picoult. Many elements of the story ring slightly false, the way the characters behave in one situation seems completely the opposite of their normal reaction. However, some of the situations might bring about odd changes of character in normal people, who knows how they would react in similar circumstances.

Overall we gave this book 8 out of 10.

These Things Hidden - Questions

Hello everyone,

Here are some questions for the next bookclub meeting (29th March 2012).

- We see glimpses of Allison and Brynn's parents through each girl's eyes. How have their parents shaped each girl? How have their roles in their family defined their relationship? How have your parents shaped you?

- How does public perception of Allison and Brynn differ from how the sisters view themselves—and each other? How does this change throughout the book? How did your perceptions of Brynn and Allison change as you learned more about each character?

- In These Things Hidden, several characters take on the role of a parent—for example, Devin, Olene, Gus—for a child to whom they are not biologically related. What makes a good parent? Has there been anyone in your life who has represented the role of a parent for you? Have you done this for anyone in your life? I hope you all enjoyed the book and can make it to the bookclub.

Questions from All You.