As March faded into April, and with April 1st being Easter, it seemed fitting that I read a book about rabbits. Because surely a book called Rabbit Cake with a bunny on the cover is about rabbits, right?
No, not really (and no I didn’t really think that), but Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett was a story that grabbed me and didn’t let go.
Elvis’s mom bakes rabbit cakes to celebrate special occasions. The first day of school, new moons, birthdays. She says a rabbit meant good luck to a new start. But on Elvis’s 10th birthday Mom burned the rabbit cake.
Six months later she sleepwalked into a river and drowned.
Elvis is a smart girl. She knows a lot about animals. But what she doesn’t know is how her mom’s death could have been an accident.
While her dad starts wearing her mom’s clothes and lipsticks, and her older sister starts sleep-eating instead of sleepwalking, Elvis tries to find any good reason her mom would have killed herself.
Over the next 18 months, she tries to cope with her own grief and her families grief in the only way she knows how.
Rabbit Cake is a coming of age story which is heartwarming, heartbreaking and humorous in all the right ways. I would love to see a sequel story centered around this family.
MAKING A RABBIT CAKE
Over 1000 Rabbit cakes were baked, eaten, judged or destroyed in this book. While some were left plain, some were fanciful and some were decorated to look like real rabbits. Elvis tells us on the first page of the novel:
A rabbit cake is baked in a two-sided aluminum mold, producing a three-dimensional cake. That’s the miracle of it: the cake stands up on its own, on its four paws.
I pictured them as looking a lot like this cake pan available from Amazon:I’ve never made one before, but maybe we should all start celebrating the new beginnings, or even the daily mundane tasks, of our lives with Rabbit Cakes.
Rabbit Cake is the 18th book out of the 60 I hope to read this year. See Everything I’ve read on my 2018 Reading List