Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Book Review: Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett

"Rabbit Cake" by Annie Hartnett
First published in 2017
327 pages
My rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Short Of It:
After reading a few reviews, I was really expecting a hidden gem, but, while charming, "Rabbit Cake" was not quite what I was hoping for.

The Long Of It:
The narrator of "Rabbit Cake" is spunky, intelligent 11-year-old Elvis Babbitt, whose mother recently died by drowning while sleepwalking. Now her family is in a bit of a shambles: her sister is sleep-eating the eggs from the neighbor's chicken coop and her bereft father is walking around in her mother's lipstick and bathrobe.

There's no shortness of quirk here: there's a psychic, a parrot who speaks in Elvis's mother's voice, and a rabbit-shaped cake pan that plays a very important role in the story. Underneath all that is a theme about grief -- why do our loved ones die? How do we come to terms with it? Family is a big theme as well, as we see how Elvis and her eccentric family make it through a year and a half without their cornerstone.

The thing is, while the book was charming and unique, the quirkiness was to the point of unbelieveability. And I really had an issue with the parts of the book where Elvis is working as a teen volunteer at the local zoo -- the things they let her do are just completely out there for an 11-year-old, even a smart one like Elvis. And, though I liked Elvis, I never really became invested in her as a character, and I didn't like her sister and dad all that much. Some of the minor characters, like Miss Ida the psychic and Ms. Bernstein the guidance counselor, were downright irritating.

I also felt like, though this is technically an adult book, if you took out a few things it would really be a middle-grade novel. It reminded me a bit of "Walk Two Moons" by Sharon Creech with it's quirky characters and plot about a child making peace with the death of a parent, and I think, with a bit of editing, that's the age it should've been geared toward.

"Rabbit Cake" was a fast and easy read, but it had an 11-year-old narrator who felt 11, which is not always what I'm looking for in an adult novel, and the nuttiness factor was just too high for me. I was hoping for a delightful 5-star read but found it to be just-ok.

1 comment:

  1. I own this book and while I'm a tad disappointed you didn't like it more, it sounds pretty quirky and there are times I really need a book like that so I'll save it for one of those. I still love the cover and title though.


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