Monday, 24 September 2012

When God was a Rabbit?

Firstly let me say I am a BIG kindle fan! Never has feeding a baby at 11pm and 5am been so entertaining than with my kindle in the other hand. Since Athol has been born I have read more books than I have read in the previous year (and he is only 3 months now!). So having moved to Leeds and left my dearly beloved bookclub in Hartlepool behind, Ben and I have decided to give another one a go in Headingley. The first title we are reading is 'When God was a Rabbit' and I just finished it this afternoon while the twins were having a riotous time in the softplay area.
My thoughts are:
  • I love the relationships that are shown between family and friends and how friends become family. The brother-sister relationship between Elly and Joe is beautiful (although maybe slightly unrealistic!) and the friendship that were made between Elly and Jenny Penny was very touching. It made me realise again that actually life is all about relationships - we are deeply relational beings. The fear of death that pervades the book is also a fear of relationships ending, of the finality of death. The strange mysticism and odd happenings (Jenny Penny's telling of the future, Arthurs musings about a 'greater something that illuminates inconsequence in our lives') within the book seem to be the authors attempts to explore  this. To be honest, the vagueness that surrounded this did annoy me rather! We all seek out and crave friendship and closeness with others - Elly invested heavily in Joe and when he loses his memory we realise that this could backfire - but it also made me think about why we all crave this so much, wonder me why we all fear death/disease as the end of a relationship (as I most certainly do). As a Christian I believe this is because God is a relational being  - and he created us to be so too. If I think of the joys in my life, they are all about relationships, husband-wife, parent-child, sister-sister, friend-friend. But as Elly realises in the book, nothing is perfect, everything spoils or comes to an end ('I blamed it on the coming New Year....we would start again, could start again, but I knew we wouldn't. Nothing would. The world would just be the same, just a little bit worse') - I know this all too well! 

  • While I did enjoy lots of the first half of the book, some parts even made me laugh out loud ('bath time'!) it was ultimately the depression and lack of hope and joy from the main story teller  - Elly - that made this book become increasingly difficult to read (although there were other things too - the odd unexplained happenings  - 50p from a future date coming out of Jenny Penny's arm?! A coconut landing on Arthur's head and he regains his sight?! It all became too unrealistic for me when the Twin Towers were also brought into it!) I know life is full of broken relationships, awful abuses happen that mess people up for life, dreadful things happen that cause grief and life long mourning to millions - but the author for me tries to find redemption and fulfilment in relationships that last  - Jenny Penny and Joe - but they too will fail at some point. For me the hope and joy that this book lacked are found in Jesus - who came to restore my relationship with God (who a rabbit was named after in the book  - hence the title and several funny parts of the book) and who is working to make all things new - even our broken relationships and one day they will be on earth as it is in heaven. Now that is hope!
Conclusion  - this book is a good read at times, I did enjoy some of it. But if you're looking for something uplifting - this is perhaps not for you!