I have an awful habit of getting so absorbed in a book that I finish it in a matter of days, and I must admit that 'When God Was A Rabbit' is definitely one of those books that I did this with!
Told in the style of a two-part memoir, this book is narrated by Elly, who tells the story of her relationships with family and friends. The most central and formative of her relationships are with her elder brother Joe and odd classmate Jenny Penny, and as the novel progresses we see how they impact upon Elly right through into adulthood.
The first half of the book revolves around Elly's childhood experiences and is told with a childish wonder - so many events are described perfectly through a child's eyes and it is often not until the second adult part of the book that the reader, alongside Elly, comes to fully understand them.
There are plenty of subtly shocking moments in 'When God Was A Rabbit', and Winman does not shy away from difficult issues such as terminal illness, abuse and murder. Nothing, however, is ever included purely for shock factor and it is fascinating to see how Elly and her family cope with the many events throughout the book. Despite the inclusion of several upsetting events, this is not a depressing novel - quite the opposite in fact! There are plenty of uplifting and beautiful moments, and the ending, although a little inconclusive, leaves the reader satisfied. The book's blurb claims that this is "a book about love in all its forms", and that is certainly what it achieves.
Overall: A really lovely and though-provoking book, perfect if you need a little heart-warming but don't fancy the typical love story.