Review: Bunny by Mona Awad
....What the hell did I just read? I think this has to be up there with some of the strangest things I've ever come across. Sort of like when I watched the movie Midsommar for the first time. I just sat there with my jaw dropped not knowing whether to scream, laugh or cry because....WHAT IS THIS???
We follow our main character Samantha who is part of a writing programme at an elite New England college. There are a group girls also part of the programme that call themselves 'bunny'. This reminded me of The Heathers, especially with this familiar setting. Samantha and her best friend Ava despise the bunnies due to their general mean girl vibes they give off to outsiders of their clique. As the book progresses, it is clear that the bunnies are in fact part of a cult that Samantha gets drawn into...very strange things start to happen during their 'workshops' with some bizarre transformations and graphic horror and violence. Despite the oddities of this book, I think I liked it? Does that count as a review when I'm honestly quite unsure of what happened? I thought the writing was superb and I will definitely be keeping my eyes out for any further releases by Mona Awad as her story-telling is transfixing. I don't know if it's down to this sort of book being outside of my comfort zone, but I inevitably found there were sections during my reading where I was unsure as to what was going on. The story is chaotic and having read so much contemporary fiction, the strangeness is often hard to keep track of. This isn't even 'classic horror', so it can be hard to make sense of. I think there were some nuanced analogies being used, but I don't think I've been able to figure out what they are?! I just have an overwhelming sense they are there... Samantha switches in the second half of the book from referring to herself as 'I', to 'we' as though she has been brainwashed and drugged (very likely) during her cultish initiation.
The side kick best friend, Ava was a great addition to the book - playing the role of the key figure Samantha looks up to and cares about, which allows for realistic content when Samantha must fight for who she cares about. Overall, did I enjoy this book - yes. However, I think there were some fundamental questions left unanswered. During the workshops, practises of - I'm assuming - witchcraft were never explained. How were they creating these things? Is this set in a world where there are many witches around? Is this not a shocking thing to see? I was left somewhat unsatisfied having so little of the strangeness that occurs explains. This might be the exact beauty of the book, that nothing strange that happens is ever explained and it just has to be accepted by the reader.
If you are in the market for a very strange book, I'd certainly recommend this. I think it correctly falls into the horror category, but this book doesn't feel like it has a real place with other classic horror fiction. I don't think I will forget this book quickly, so it has to be given points on that regard. Strangely, unlike many books I'm unsure about, I completely understand why this would be a book to divide opinions. Some will love it, and some will hate it, and that perfectly sums up Bunny.
Initial Prediction: 4 stars
Final Rating: 3.5 stars
Publication Date: 11 June 2019
Publisher: Head of Zeus
# of Pages: 307