Bunny by Mona Awad

‘We call them Bunnies because that is what they call each other. Seriously. Bunny.’

I’m a bit all over the place with this book. I’d call it a ‘yo-yo read’. It’s sickly sweet, ugly pretty, cutely foul and oddly addictive. I was up and down throughout, with awkward ‘do I even like this’ moments. On numerous occasions I was indeed loving it in all its twisted hilarity.

Samantha Heather Mackey is an outsider in her small, highly selective MFA program at Warren University. In fact, she is utterly repelled by the rest of her fiction writing cohort – a clique of unbearably twee rich girls who call each other ‘Bunny’.

But then the Bunnies issue her with an invitation and Samantha finds herself inexplicably drawn to their front door, across the threshold, and down their rabbit hole.

Bunny was an unusual choice for me as it’s got Young Adult/Fantasy genre written all over it – not my usual choice. But this book feels like it not only blends genres, but bends them too. Into very uncomfortable positions.

⤴️You can treat yourself to this Bunny Zone sign for your wall/garden/bedroom/dustbin area by clicking on the sign!

It’s as funny as hell in places and has a fair few horrific scenes. On Goodreads someone described it as ‘one of the most demented books I’ve ever read’. I dig a bit of weirdness in my books, so my FOMO got the better of me!

I’m a member of The Ladies of Horror Fiction Group on Goodreads and there was a choice of books for September to vote for. Bunny won, so I thought, oh why not, let’s do it! I’m glad I did, but I’m still not sure I even liked it much!

I’m in the UK and the story is American, so I found certain things that I didn’t connect with. The education system in the USA is something I know nothing about. Also certain pop culture went over my head, so perhaps things were a bit lost on me.

The quirky characters were cracking, the humour was dark and dry, it was shockingly funny on countless occasions. It was written in such a way that is felt ‘chatty’ and flowed from page to brain* very easily.

*whilst mashing it up repeatedly.

The Sunday Independent quotes it as ‘Mean Girls with added menace’ and I completely agree.

At three quarters through I felt it was just playing with me. My feelings went from ‘this is weird’ to this is ‘REALLY effing weird’. Then ‘it’s so hilarious but still weird.’ Then ‘uh-oh, I’m getting a bit bored of the repetitive bits in the middle here.’ And the final part was just ‘whaaat??? – I’m not sure I even ‘get it!’

Talk about rollercoaster! It’s like nothing I’ve read before ever. But I think I liked it.

Would I read it again? No. Would I recommend it? I would, yes. But it’s definitely not for everyone. Maybe it would sit better with an American reader, and certainly would be more appreciated by someone twenty years younger than myself.

Apparently the rights are sold to AMC for a possible TV-film adaptation. I think it would be better on screen, I’d watch it, but only because I’ve read it.

It comes across as a weird, fantastical teen/YA story, with elements of horror that is cleverly put together. I enjoyed the characters and their strange behaviours, the writing was extremely good but overall I’d say it is an above average ‘Bunny Tail’ deserving of 3/5 bunnies.

I’ll leave you with a couple of lines which made me pull a right dodgy face;

‘A pause so pregnant it delivers, consumes its own spawn, then grows big with child again.’

‘She looks at us all in her probing, intensely gynaecological way.’

Urgh! That’s just ‘orrible!!

Here is the news…

A Two Ronnies-esque play on book titles Blogpost. Here’s some of my favourite Indie Publishers combined with some books that are on my shelves in a special bookish ‘News Flash’. With a final shout out to a fabulous online book shop.

Good morning/afternoon/evening. Here is the news 🤓 🤓

Photo courtesy of The Guardian Newspaper. Obviously.

Today’s top stories:

News just in! There’s been a report from a couple of local ladies about a sighting of something unusual in their back garden.

Our reporter has just informed us that they said they’ve spotted what appears to be a BLUE MOOSE wandering around, eating their carrots. They said ‘WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE and usually it’s a BUNNY that steals our produce. We don’t know what to think during these strange times anymore.’

Our next story is focusing on the ridiculous amount of books that Lisa from OwlBeSatReading has accumulated over the last few months.

When interviewed she said ‘I don’t know how it gets like this. There seems to be an INFLUX of great authors at the moment, I end up in some kind of book LABYRINTH, struggling to find a way out! I often blame OTHERS but I know for certain I just get the HORNS for new books.’

Next an exclusive story, perhaps to take with a pinch of SALT. The theory behind ‘second breakfasts’.

Although small in stature, we spoke to a group of men (?) about their lives and how it evolves around mealtimes.

One, who wishes to remain anonymous said, ‘you can simply call me Mr HOBBIT, as I don’t want to bring unnecessary attention to us all as we’re on a secret journey at the moment. But I will say there’s never a time when we’re not FAMISHED. You could say we’re bounders really, but we’re certainly not UNBOUND!’

When questioned further, he said ‘we’re going there and back again, that’s all I’m willing to disclose at this stage’.

More on that story later.

Our next bulletin has had a few locals very perplexed. A new housing estate has recently been built and some have experienced a lot of ‘strange goings on’. Here’s EMMA, who lives opposite WUTHERING HEIGHTS to tell our reporter more.

‘I was pegging out my washing early one morning when I caught something in the corner of my eye. I’m no fan of ancient religions, big or SMALL GODS for that matter, but I am convinced I saw A MODERN FAMILY getting into their car and one of their kids was wearing A HEAD OF ZEUS!’

Our reporter asked to look from where she saw this bizarre occurrence and pointed over to her SANDSTONE patio, saying ‘my washing line is strung between those TWO TOWERS, so it’s a good viewpoint. I’ve set up CCTV because I think I’m going mad’.

We’ll keep you updated as the story unfolds.

And finally, as we bring today’s report to a close, bringing you a MYRIAD of bookish oddities, I’d like to end with this lovely story.

Our final article is a heartwarming story about a pile of books found by a chap who’s had an unlikely escape from who knows where. He goes by the name Uriah. URIAH HEEP.

He was in the park walking his dog last Tuesday when he stumbled across a stack of books all wrapped up in a lovely red bow! Uriah tells us more.

‘I remember seeing a postcard in the local post office from a bloke called Bert who’d sadly mislaid some books and he’d be keen on getting them back. Apparently they were for his friend Rose. They may of been for ROSEMARY’S BABY as she’d recently had a wee nipper. Anyway, I’m so happy I could be the bearer of good tidings, I took great pleasure in returning BERTS BOOKS’.

So that brings us to the end of today’s news. Thank you for joining us.

It’s a goodnight from me and a goodnight from him. GOODNIGHT.

My Simple Life Situations [spelt out in five book covers]

Afternoon everyone, today I bring to you certain situations I’ve found myself in told in the medium of book covers.

King Crow by Michael Stewart

This perfectly represents me when I’ve just put fresh bird food out into the garden and that damn squirrel rocks up and nicks the lot. I hate that little bastard sometimes and wish I were a Crow with a baseball bat.

Pure by Rose Cartwright

Sometimes I just sit on the bed and stare. Sometimes I sit there debating whether I can be bothered to paint my toenails. But mostly I sit there thinking ‘is 7pm too early to climb in and snuggle up?’

Car Park Life by Gareth E Rees

Back in the day when I worked on the High Street I’d be waiting for the bus in the pouring rain with 400 other poor sods, who were desperate to stay dry and get home. Usually someone would piss me off by jamming themselves into an already full bus stop. I miss those days like a hole in the head.

She – Clown and Other Stories by Hannah Vincent

I feel like being pretty today, let’s do a proper makeover. Can I do winged eyeliner at 46 and a half? Can I hell. Usually looks even worse than this to be honest.

The Book Collector by Alice Thompson

I definitely did blow out that Yankee candle before I came out didn’t I? Didn’t I???? Me with my thoughts of uncertainty.

So there you have it, I’m a bit of a book weirdo. But you probably knew that already! Thanks for dropping by and have a great day

Boy Parts by Eliza Clark

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I’m reviewing this book in a way I feel is fitting to my reading experience. It’ll be to the point, crass in places and slightly scatterbrained!
Let’s keep it simple, for those of you that aren’t aware of my reading tastes, let me explain.
I LOVE reading weird, dodgy, questionable stuff. I go from demure gorgeous historical fiction to books only suitable for strong stomached wrong’uns.
Eliza Clark’s debut is all kinds of wrong. And so what?! I bloody loved it!

‘I wake up a full twenty-four hours later on my sofa. A bag of chips completely defrosted in my lap.’

📸 A forthright debut novel with hints of Trainspotting, American Psycho & CJ Skuses’ Sweetpea
📸 A dark, voyeuristic peek into the art world, relationships, drugs, gender & sexuality

‘Eddie, Eddie, Eddie from Tesco, shall I compare thee to a heavily discounted piece of meat on the reduced shelf at the end of the day? Thou art cheaper and, hopefully, fresher.’

📸 A narcissistic female protagonist who’s vulnerabilities surface throughout the story
📸 A diverse cast of characters that brings strong relationship dynamics from all angles

‘…why they don’t do condoms like cup sizes – A, B, C – rather than letting people guess what size they are based on…’

📸Riddled with a dark and dirty humour, I choked on my own spit a fair few times

‘I’m glad she’s still quantifying how much she wants to do stuff by how many dicks she’d suck to do it.’

📸 As a 40-something reader, the Urban Dictionary was my best friend
📸 Not recommended for the more sensitive reader. Don’t touch it with a barge pole if you’re easily offended.
📸📸📸📸/5

Summerwater by Sarah Moss

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On the longest day of the summer, twelve people sit cooped up with their families in a faded Scottish cabin park. The endless rain leaves them with little to do but watch the other residents.

Summerwater was inspired by a family holiday that Sarah Moss had in Scotland where it relentlessly rained.

‘You can’t wait for the fucking weather, not here, you’ll be dead before it stops raining.’

The story revolves around twelve very different families over a twenty four hour period. But in fact, they have a lot more in common with each other than they actually realise.

‘…who the fuck goes on holiday where there isn’t even a chippy?’

This book is a ‘people-watchers’ dream. After all, what else is there to do when it’s pouring down outside? You’ve just spent a small fortune on a musty old cabin in the woods, and the sun seems like a long distant memory. You’d sit and watch the world go by from inside that cabin and judge each other of course! That’s what I would do anyway. Get my moneys worth one way or another. British holidays are a lot to be desired at times.

‘People get on best, in Claire’s view, when they’re apart at least half the time…’

We get to meet bored young children and angsty teenagers, newly engaged young things and married couples whose relationships have become stagnant and barely tolerable as they approach old age.

What they all have in common is they are disgruntled by the weather, their lives in general, and most of all each other.

‘What do you want, Josh whispers in her ear. A cup of tea and a bacon bap, she thinks, would be excellent, but she says kiss me…’

We’ve all been there, those family holidays where we try our hardest to make the best of a bad situation. Sitting indoors with no phone signal or WiFi can force our minds back into the real world, whether we like it or not. What is it about the British, is it really such a strain to talk and connect with each other?

‘Have a bath, he said’ …Women’s magazines always say that, a long scented bath, as if everything from baby weight to infidelity will dissolve in enough hot water, as if you can spend enough on bath salts to cover the smell of self-loathing and rage.’

In between each chapter, Moss delicately brings in another aspect to the story. Brief, evocative description of the surroundings, vignette style chapters which connect the surrounding natural world to the characters. Whilst reading these, they gave me welcomed respite from the character-driven trope. A breather almost, to prepare me for the next ‘human’ instalment.

‘You probably don’t notice when you’re in your prime, do you; in fact, if you’re thinking about your prime it’s almost certainly over.’

What I loved most about Summerwater was it’s simple concept mixed with the complexities of being human, being loved and being angry.

This story is littered with a dark humour I wasn’t expecting. I experienced real hearty belly laughs on numerous occasions. I read some of it in the bathtub too, soaking away my own ‘self-loathing and rage’! At one point I looked up into the bathroom mirror and saw my facial expression which I think was mixture of a ‘knowing smirk’ and a deep connective understanding. I read about 30 pages towards the end out loud to myself as I had a few hours on my own. I wanted to properly ‘hear’ the characters’ voices. The dialogue was chatty, easy. The descriptions breathtakingly beautiful.

The final few pages of Summerwater was phenomenal. I’ll say no more on that subject, I suggest you read it.

This is the first time I’ve read anything by Sarah Moss, and I’m delighted to discover she has a back catalogue which I will definitely get through.

I’ll leave you with a final quote, from Justine. She’s a Mum of two with a running-obsession, but what is she REALLY running from? She was definitely my most favourite character of all;

‘…old ladies, powder and lipstick to totter to the corner shop with one of those trolleys because they’ve not bothered to lift anything heavier than a biscuit since the menopause…’

Big thanks to Sarah Moss and Picador for sending me an advanced copy via the NetGalley platform in exchange for an honest review.

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