Analysis, inspiration, Reading, Reviews

Book Review: Bunny by Mona Awad

I’m trying a new thing: video reviews! It’s time consuming, but also fun. I hope to do a better job emphasizing the perspective of a writer and what can be learned from the books in the future, but here’s my first video.

She shivers at the view of the grand trees, as if they’re not trees at all but something truly vile, like all the rosy-blond light that seems to forever bathe the campus is about to punch her in the face like a terrible fist of rich.

-Bunny by Mona Awad

The following will have four parts:

  • Part 1 is who’s gonna love it
  • Part 2 is who’s gonna hate it
  • Part 3 is what I thought of it
  • and Part 4 is what writers can learn from Bunny

Part 1 who’s gonna love this book

If you loved the wit and humor of Mean Girls, but thought it should have veered even harder into weirdness, then you’ll love Bunny. If you love the dark, catty aesthetic of Heathers and also the reality-questioning horror of Donnie Darko, then you’ll love Bunny.

Part 2 who’s gonna hate it

If you’re looking for light beach reading, this ain’t it.

If you don’t like weird or creepy. If you want to be able to distinguish between what’s real and and what’s imaginary at all points in time. If you like simple, straightforward prose. This book may not be for you.

The goodreads reviews for Bunny are filled with gif responses like this one

and this one

and this one

with one reviewer writing: “I want to be the person who likes weird books but I don’t think I’m the person who likes weird books.”

Part 3 what I thought of it

I went into Bunny knowing very little about it. I thought I was getting Mean Girls but instead of high school, they’re in an MFA program. And that’s what I wanted. I wanted to see my own authorial pretensions reflected in the characters and laugh at them.

The opening chapters reinforced my belief. I was like, “ok, I know where this is going.”

But then…
And when things started to get weird, I couldn’t put Bunny down.

I loved this book. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Maybe I created this youtube channel as an excuse to talk about it.

Part 4 what writers can learn from it

I love similes. I love clever turns of phrase. I love wit and humor in the words as well as the plot. Here’s an excerpt from Bunny:

How fiercely they gripped each other’s pink and white bodies, forming a hot little circle of such rib-crushing love and understanding that it took my breath away. And the nuzzling of ski-jump noses and peach fuzzy cheeks. Temples pressed against temples in a way that made me think of the labial rubbing bonobo or the telepathy of beautiful murderous children in horror films. All eight of their eyes shut tight as if this collective asphyxiation were a kind of religious bliss. All four of their glossy mouths making squealing sounds of monstrous love that hurt my face.

– Bunny by Mona Awad

It’s so good.

At first Bunny was hard to read as a writer. It’s the kind of book that makes me despair of writing anything as good as this.

I want to say that Mona Awad’s first draft was probably as crappy as drafts that I write, but the question I want to ask is, how do you write with this magnitude of wit?

And my best answer to that is: You have to be EXTRA when writing your early drafts.
You have to write descriptions with flourish and you have to not stop. Rewrite another version, then another, then another.
Lure out the shy brilliant ideas by sharing love and ink and sunlight with the dull and silly ideas.
Keep all of it for now.
Save cutting for revision.

There’s evidence that Awad herself did this and couldn’t bring herself to kill all of her darlings when she drew the knife of revision. Consider:

I quietly prayed for the hug implosion all year last year. That their ardent squeezing might cause the flesh to ooze from the sleeves, neckholes, and A-line hems of their cupcake dresses like so much inane frosting. That they would get tangled in each other’s Game of Thrones hair, choked by the ornate braids they were forever braiding into each other’s heart-shaped little heads.

– Bunny by Mona Awad

Do we really need the game of thrones bit after the cupcake frosting visual? I’d argue that it detracts from the brilliance of the first image.

Also it’s not going to age as well.

In conclusion, definitely read Bunny, it’s amazing, like suffocating beneath an ocean of cotton candy.

As a writer, be free and fearless in your writing. Let the metaphors and similes burst fully grown and armored, straight from your forehead like Athena from the forehead of Zeus himself.

Good luck and good writing.


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