Y’all ever get a case of the Sunday Scaries? This week it hit me like a Mack Truck; I’m not sure if it was because of my extra-fun Saturday spent in South Carolina, the fact that work has been extra-stressful lately, that I’ve been reading too many “dark” books lately (Charles made me promise that my next read would be “happy” after I spent several days tearing up at virtually everything, and then gave him a summary of the past five books I’ve read, all of which were about less-than-sunny subjects), or that I’m simply in summer mode, but I definitely felt some kind of way when I woke up this Sunday morning…and it wasn’t my normal chipper self but instead, moody and whiny.
SOOO I’m going to make this post short and sweet so I can bury my head in a good (CHEERFUL) book and pretend like I don’t have to spend all day tomorrow staring at teeth ;).
Rabbit Cake is my Alabama pick for my Make America Read Again project, and though I was skeptical about the novel title, it turned out to be my very favorite kind of story! I listened to this book several weeks ago as an audiobook, and I highly recommend it if you enjoy audiobooks – the narrator is EXCELLENT.
What’s it All About?
This book is the quintessential Southern novel – full of dark humor, quirky characters, and small-town life. Set in the fictional city of Freedom, Alabama, Elvis Babbitt is our 11-year-old protagonist and narrator who is coping for the recent mysterious death of her mother. Mrs. Babbit had a habit of sleep-walking and was found drowned. However, as an aspiring scientist, Elvis has her own theories as to the true cause of death and undergoes her own interviews and research to discover the true reason behind her mother’s demise, sometimes with humorous (and other times heart-wrenching) results.
Her school therapist gives her an 18 month calendar to follow the proper grieving process, but nothing about Elvis’ family, including their reaction, seems normal. Elvis’ sister, a fellow sleep-walker, begins to have more violent episodes of somnambulism, and during her waking hours begins to obsess over baking the most Rabbit Cakes and getting in the Guinness Book of World Records. Meanwhile, her dad often walks around the house in their mother’s robe and becomes attached to a pet parrot who can mimic his dead wife’s voice.
Many quirky and disasterous adventures ensue as Elvis recounts her eighteen months of grief and healing and she attempts to find the answers to her mother’s death. Both laugh-out-loud funny and tear-inducingly poignant, this book hit an especially important chord with me as I’m also still grieving the recent death of my sweet Grandmother, who I sometimes miss so much it physically hurts. This book was the perfect dose of medicine for me.
Who Should Read this Book?
Fans of Maria Semple (Where’d you Go, Bernadette?) and Joshilyn Jackson (gods in Alabama) and honestly even Harper Lee (so…most people) will enjoy this charming and heartwarming novel. Also, if you’re from Alabama or the Wiregrass area, you will appreciate the references to Auburn and Opelika (pronounced OPE-uh-LIK-uh) and other Deep South icons. Seriously, this is one of my favorite reads so far this year…and I’ve read a lot of books already. Check it out!