278 of 299 people found the following review helpful
Not sure what the fuss is about...,
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This review is from: When God Was a Rabbit (Paperback)Firstly, let me say that I did enjoy this book, and I realise I'm in the minority in not thinking it is amazing. So, fully anticipating a lynching, I will list what I thought was wrong with it:
- Simply far too much happens. It seems as if the author has taken everything she has ever thought about and splurged it on the page. She touches on a wide range of topics, each one of which could occupy a whole book by itself, but she barely skims them. This is not only overwhelming to the reader, but it serves to trivialise these important issues. There also doesn't appear to be any uniting theme. There is an element of 'and then this happened, and then this happened' and the reader is left wondering why.
- I couldn't identify with the main character, who appeared to be a wry observer who was unaffected by the events in her life. I think this would have worked better told in the third person, as we never really get under the skin of the narrator.
- The narrative is all over the place, appearing disjointed and unedited - something which really isn't helped by the gap between each paragraph, which gives the impression of a change in scene/time and causes the reader to readjust every time it happens.
So onto the good stuff. Firstly, the book was extremely funny, in a very subtle way. Several times I laughed out loud and I applaud the author for this: genuinely funny writing is hard to come by. Secondly, the writing and the descriptions are very beautiful, and some of the similes are spot on and breathtaking. These two things alone deserve three stars, and I was so impressed with them I would like to give the book more. However, a beautiful style and impeccable comic timing do not, unfortunately, make up for unlikeable characters, disjointed story telling and a lack of unity. Sorry, guys.
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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 Jun 2011 18:33:39 BDT
H. Seymour says:
Oh and also - it is absolutely nothing, nothing, nothing like One Day (which is a tremendous novel) so don't believe that for a second!
Posted on 12 Jul 2011 16:01:00 BDT
I am currently reading this book and totally agree with you. I find myself confused at times due to the many different strands the author seems to take. Just as I am settling into a particular story line, the plot shifts to another drama and character that leaves me feeling bewildered!
I will finish it but am struggling to see what all of the fuss is about.
Posted on 16 Jul 2011 19:10:11 BDT
BYC, London says:
I totally agree - I felt like she'd thrown half a dozen novels into one, in terms of stories, styles and characters. By the time I'd got to the seriousness and depression of the second part of the book, I'd forgotten how funny the first part had been. She writes with a lovely style - pity she couldn't channel it into a more coherent novel
Posted on 20 Jul 2011 09:52:53 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 20 Jul 2011 10:07:20 BDT]
Posted on 14 Aug 2011 16:22:52 BDT
Lily Cad says:
Completely agree. The author tackles far too much and we never really understand her. The first part of the book was beautiful and had a sweet and comical innocence, but the second half was disappointing and a complete let down.
Don't apologise for expressing your opinion H.Seymour! You're correct in your observations and I too found it difficult to like the characters or understand them.
In reply to an earlier post on 16 Aug 2011 22:22:05 BDT
littlepig littlepig says:
I agree too - I felt it was like two separate books squiffled into one.
Posted on 20 Aug 2011 23:04:34 BDT
Agree with much of what you've said as I've just finished reading the book and feel great chunks, characters (esp Jenny Penny's story) and themes are skimmed over. Great writing, great characters and great ideas that somehow don't satisfy. It's as if you are given a taste and then aren't allowed to complete the meal.
Posted on 1 Sep 2011 16:54:18 BDT
R. Keech says:
Have to disagree with all you fine people. Though I don't think this review/reviewer deserves a lynching in the slightest - it is an opinion and deserves to be heard as much as those gushing about how good this book is (such as me!).
For me at least, the narrative flowed pretty well throughout - it is in two very distinct parts, both of which developed in an engaging and interesting (and yes, beautifully described) way. I didn't feel remotely overwhelmed by all that was going on in either part, nor did I feel the events were trivialised or glossed over. On the contrary, I found they were dealt with delicately and with a believable degree of detail and silence rather than a sensational or overly graphic description.
I found the main character easy to identify with, we see into her thought process and her response to the world around her - which I found very accessible and was particularly impresses by how there are subtle changes to her perspective on events passed as we read from an older perspective, but also how some perceptions are held from childhood into adulthood.
I agree that the book was extremely funny and not always in the most obvious of ways! I think I could see a lot of myself in the characters at times and parts of my family at other times - I think that might, at least partly, be the reason for the differences of opinion on this book? To me it feels cosy entering into Elly's world, because enough of it feels familiar - so its easy for me to feel the ups, downs, highs and lows that the characters are taken through. Perhaps thats not something that will hold true for every reader?
Posted on 6 Sep 2011 23:21:23 BDT
I agree. I also didn't like the framing around news events. Very glad we didn't reach Boxing day 2002. First half by far the better half. As you say the bits that were good were very good.
Posted on 14 Sep 2011 10:25:07 BDT
Totally agree with this.. I only started reading this book yesterday and already Im annoyed by it! It does skim over many things and too many times I read something pretty big, then in the next sentence its moved onto something else and Im sat there puzzled!
Not sure if I will finish reading it or if I will end up too annoyed and frustrated with it!