It all started with a need to fill the hole that the last story had left it my heart. I wanted desperately to find something just as engrossing to fill my mind, to distract me once more.
The need was strong and so was the pull that led me to shift aside all of the things on my shelf that crowded this long-forgotten book, hiding away from sight, as if lost in its own story – quite happily too, it seemed. I picked it out, not quite knowing why I had felt the urgency to seek this one out in particular and embossed in light blue halo were words written in white – WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT, almost as if written by a little child, too excited to pay attention. With that thought, I opened it.
And I never closed it, not willingly anyway.
The promise of a journey deep into innocent, magical hearts and their brave lives. That’s all this book has to offer. As if it isn’t enough?
Such is the nature of children that a mere flicker of magic, of the great unknown, is enough to draw them to it like a moth to a flame.
They don’t care about the consequences, they just want to make sense of the world around them, they just want to belong. And when none of that comes from the usual corners, they start to seek the same elsewhere. That’s what Elly did in the beginning. The world’s God, it seemed, loved everyone but her. So she decided to find another one. A better one. And she found it in Mr. Golan, their Jewish neighbor. With this new acquaintance started her journey of dreams and disappointments, too early for a child her age. Not to mention that soon Mr. Golan would do something that although Elly won’t be able to understand it then, it would change something in her. Something that she will confide, unwillingly, only with her brother. Something that would come out years later. And it would be okay. But that’s just the beginning of a long, long story.
Elly’s inquisitiveness and her relationship with the new girl Jenny Penny are so, so innocent that my heart went out. For both of them.
A strong relationship between a brother and a sister that became their rock against life’s many blows that were yet to come, witnessing a friend’s dysfunctional family that struck feelings that a young heart should never have been made to feel, forever escaping the truths of their identity and finally made to look them in the eye, beautiful friends found in the most unexpected places – When God was a Rabbit isn’t just a story where a child’s innocent love and faith makes her pet talk and do things that can only ever happen in dreams, it’s about LOVE and all the different forms that it comes in our lives.
It’s about those sweet and magical years and experiences that have the power to transform our whole lives. And even in the later years when everything just seems so devoid of hope, the flickering memories of those delicious moments lived long ago can be redemptive, therapeutic, to say the least.
”I am here but I am not yours”
When God Was a Rabbit reminds us of the colossal significance of relationships, and their effects on us, on our whole lives – no matter what age they are formed in.
I could tell you all about how Joe dealt with the loss of his lover, how Alfie made peace with his lack of faith and how he regained it. I could tell you about the most unusual relationship between a brother, his sister. Yeah, I could tell you all of that and even more but all I really want you to understand about this novel is that the more you advance through this beautiful story of friendship and relationships and love and betrayal, the more you come to realize that this one of those stories that you have to live to really understand it.
Yes, reading it was like living it. Living through Joe’s ordeals, laughing with Elly and Jenny Penny, getting awestruck by Arthur’s ability to defy even death.
Some stories have so much going on in them owing to their exciting and racy plot that you hardly have enough time to REALLY examine the characters. But When God was a Rabbit is a purely character-driven story. They will rise, they will fall, they will make you laugh, they will make you cry and by the end, you will leave with a fragment of them quietly tucked inside your hearts.
I have lived through a plethora of different emotions while reading this warm and, if I am being honest, at times shocking novel (in terms of the events that later transpire in the lives of them all) and all I can say is that –
When God Was a Rabbit is not just a novel. It’s an experience.
And what about you? Have you read When God Was a Rabbit? Do you agree with me? How was your experience of the novel? Who was your favorite character?
When I picked up this book, it was already too late. Too late to turn back. Even though it would take me a few chapters to really start liking it, it would become a necessity for the next few hours that I read and read and read…and read this story. This story of kind hearts and brave minds. Of seriously misunderstood teens and the chaos within them. Of how it would shape their lives in a matter of a few seasons – whether for good or for bad.
There is nothing but extremes in Beartown. People go all out or they don’t go at all. They love with all their hearts or they just don’t care at all.
A town of winners. And everyone else.
A town where they only understood one religion – Hockey.
But is that really a bad thing? To be able to lose yourself into something even if just for a few minutes that you forget everything else?
Yes. And No.
A girl is raped. She didn’t mean to. It just happened. It wasn’t her fault. But nobody really cared. Or if they did, they didn’t much care to acknowledge it. A girl was raped and all the dominoes came crashing down all around this icy town. A girl was raped and it defined the lives of many, many people…for many, many days to come. A girl was raped and it gave birth to violence, resentment, hatred, depression, competition, and most of all, it gave birth to a reckoning.
When tragedy strikes, we are surprised how it could ever even happen. When hatred simmers in young hearts, we try to locate the source. But more often than not, we forget that it was all in us. Always. The act just paved the way. It just acted as a catalyst for the things to come rushing out that have always been within us, to begin with.
Frederick Backman’s Us Against You deals with human fragility and their strength simultaneously. How a father will make peace with the fact that he couldn’t protect his daughter? How a best friend will collect himself when the person he loved the most turned out to be someone completely different? How certain people will try to take advantage of the chaos. Will they succeed? Will it be a good thing or a bad one if they did?
Beartown is all of these people and every one of them is Beartown. And they live for hockey. They live for becoming something other than who they are. For staying the same. For getting out. For staying put. They will fight until the very end. Until they can fight no more. But then something absolutely terrible will happen. It won’t be enough.
The odds will be stacked against them till the very end.
“Kira Anderson is sitting on the steps outside the little house. waiting for a man who never comes”
It’s also about relationships. With yourself. And others. How delicately you handle them? How much are you willing to sacrifice for them?
Whom do you put first?
Are you selfish? When are you not?
On a macroscopic level, Us Against You is an account of the all-important, all-consuming human pride. All the different flavors of it.
Manipulation at their fingertips.
Sacrifices made to achieve those dreams.
Proving your worth in a town that understands nothing but successive wins. Peter Anderson and his dilemmas. Late-night driving.
A chance to forget about the shame that chance has seen fit to put on him. A chance to prove his worth.
A never-ending process. Because there will always be people who will underestimate you.
The town gleams with it, inside out. Sure there is violence but there is also compassion which can easily be found in two mothers, their love for their children, their devotion to hockey. Its the little things that will make you fall in love with the residents of Beartown – shaving cream filled shoes, an overly sarcastic friend, sisters doing anything they can to keep their brother in line, friends singing and shooting and irritating the hell out of each other, long runs and even longer practices to make sure the one who can do it, does it and doesn’t get off the track. These things will melt you, strike confidence in your heart about these people, get you pumped up for whatever their future will bring. Yes. It will do all those things.
But this story will also do something that every good story does and should – give you hope, give you strength.
”Mistake…just a mistake.”
The one person I always rooted for throughout the book, from the beginning till the end was a boy. An eighteen-year-old boy. This boy is reckless until he isn’t. This boy is harmful until he isn’t. This boy is a beast. Yes. But a beast hiding a fatherless childhood, a brute hiding the fear of non-acceptance. A brother, an uncle, a lover, a friend..he is all those things. If only people could look behind that strong facade. If only the man with the blue collared t-shirt didn’t think of him as just a mistake.
”Just a mistake”
One other thing about the writing that struck me as most beautiful is the amazing use of repetition by Backman throughout the novel. He uses it to tug at our curiosity in just the right amounts and at just the right places. And it may not seem like much right now but when you’ll read it, you’ll understand just how much it adds to the beauty of the story.
In the end, to understand the larger-than-life hearts of the residents of Beartown, you need to read it. You need to let their struggles consume you. They need you. They need you to understand their story. They need to tell it in their own words, horror and all.
Won’t you listen?
“We’ll stand tall if you stand tall”
What did you think of the book?
Have I convinced you to read it yet?
What part intrigued you the most about this review?
What are you reading right now? Because I am in desperate need of suggestions!
People are like clouds. Sometimes they stay welled up, greyed, and full of pain. Sometimes they let it all out, sometimes they rain.
But whether the drizzle is a happy one or just a premonition of an upcoming storm is quite hard to figure out. There is one thing, however, that we can be sure of and that is the reason behind all they do –
L O V E.
Sometimes it’s the lack of it that drives them mad, sometimes its abundance. But whatever the case, it’s always the extremes that lead to every outburst. Something similar is at the heart of T H E Z A H I R by Paulo Coelho.
I have never really been that keen on Coelho, to be honest. Yes, I have read The Alchemist, and yes, it was a brilliantly written novel but that was years ago and since that one book by him, I never quite got myself to pick up any other of his books. I don’t know but there is something about the way he writes. It’s mysteriously unsettling. It’s like something inside of me wants to escape whenever his words enter my thoughts. I feel…well..I can’t quite put it into words but whatever it was, it stopped me from reading whatever Coelho wrote. That’s why I put off reading The Zahir. It was given to me by my boyfriend who made me promise that I would read it. And I did, thinking that he will soon forget about it and I won’t have to go through that unknown and tremendously disturbing feeling again.
But he would NOT let it happen! DAMN, he would pester me EVERY DAY about it! xD SO MUCH THAT I HAD TO READ IT AND GET IT OVER WITH. He claimed that once I read The Zahir, I will change my opinion of Coelho. I doubted it but I decided to give it a shot anyway.
AND HE WAS RIGHT!
I admit that the first few pages, I didn’t know what was going on and was uninterested. But just as I was about to quit (I was, after all, looking for reasons to just close the book), I was hooked in.
It was like the words were clawing me in and the more I resisted and wanted to leave, the more I kept getting drawn into it. It was like quicksand and I could not break myself free.
I was now a captive of this treacherous little book.
And I never realised when my hate for my captor turned into Stockholm syndrome*!
*ONE DIRECTION, ANYONE??? oh, come on!!!!!
That was the moment I knew I was falling in love with Coelho and what’s weird is that I ENJOYED IT!
The Zahir was becoming my obsession. The sheer volume of the narrator’s thoughts! THEY WERE VERY LOUD! I could hear my mind screaming them back to me, just to ensure that I never forget it.
I was enjoying this kidnapping! I was enjoying how completely detached from the world I was becoming. And somewhere in this process, I found the one answer I too had been searching for soo long, without even realising it –
Am I happy?
There is someone for everyone which sets their souls on fire, who ignites such a passion in their hearts that it becomes impossible to not think about them in every thought, to not see them in every face, to not dream of them every passing night.
But the tragedy is that some people realise this a little too late – that once broken, the fragile thread is never smooth again, the heart is never again. That’s something that happens with our story’s protagonist. He is rich. He is famous. He has the passport to be with any woman he likes and still lead a happily married life. But he isn’t happy. He loves his wife. He loves his career. But he isn’t satisfied. His wife loves him. She loves her life. And yet, she isn’t satisfied either. Neither of them is happy. They need to find that SOMETHING. THAT FEELING OF BEING ALIVE. And in search of their respective obsessions…what will they eventually get?
Passion or despair?
I am T H E Z A H I R.
I was left enthralled by the time I finished reading this absolutely gorgeous book. Have you read The Zahir?
Did you feel the same?
Do you plan to read it?
What are your opinions of Coelho in general?
Do you feel the same aversion as I felt before reading The Zahir?
LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! ❤ ❤ ❤
Until next time 🙂
I started writing a story exactly one year ago. It was going to be amazing. At least in my head ;p.
And just when ideas started to kick in, words started to fill the pages, MY COLLEGE ANNOUNCED IT’S DAMNED SEMESTER EXAMS!! It was soo frustrating. I AM TELLING YOU. I had to abandon my story altogether and once forsaken, the mood JUST DID NOT RETURN.
But I mean to push myself over the edge now and learn to grow the wings en-fall.
Continue reading “[NaNoWriMo 2017] Announcing my WIP //I AM ACTUALLY USING THAT WORD?? WOW O_O//”