Bunny

Bunny

"A wild, audacious and ultimately unforgettable novel." — Los Angeles Times "Every time I open it up, I stumble upon a crackling sentence." — The New York Times"Awad is a stone-cold genius." — The Washington Post The Vegetarian meets Heathers in this darkly funny, seductively strange novel from the acclaimed author of 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl"We were just these in...

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Title:Bunny
Author:Mona Awad
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Bunny Reviews

  • Janelle • She Reads with Cats

    Review to come

  • Jessica Sullivan

    What did I just read?! Okay. Imagine the dark humor of Heathers, the body horror of David Cronenberg and the dystopian speculative fiction of Black Mirror all coming together in a bizarre fever dream that’s sort of a satire of the creative process and MFA programs.

    Because that’s what this is.

    Samantha is an outsider in her creative writing program at an elite university. When a group of cult-ish popular girls known as the Bunnies invite her to their Workshop to help get her out if her writing slu

    What did I just read?! Okay. Imagine the dark humor of Heathers, the body horror of David Cronenberg and the dystopian speculative fiction of Black Mirror all coming together in a bizarre fever dream that’s sort of a satire of the creative process and MFA programs.

    Because that’s what this is.

    Samantha is an outsider in her creative writing program at an elite university. When a group of cult-ish popular girls known as the Bunnies invite her to their Workshop to help get her out if her writing slump...let’s just say their creative process is not what Samantha was expecting.

    At first, everything teeters on the edge of uncanny, just normal enough to exist in the real world but as if at any second it could veer into a surreal nightmare. And then it does. And the lines between reality and delusion, creativity and sanity, agency and passivity begin to blur.

    I loved this weird book. It loses a little bit of steam in the final act, but it’s so strange and exciting and imaginative that I’m giving it 5 stars for being fully committed to its own strangeness and for delivering such a fun ride down the rabbit hole.

  • Emily

    "We're not bored in the slightest, ever, ever."

    I loved Bunny SO MUCH. I had no idea what to expect with this book, and it was amazing. I don't want to say very much about it because you deserve to experience this insanity on its own. Bunny is one of my favorite books I've read this year so far, and it's such an entertaining and unique story. This book had everything I wanted, and some additional weirdness sprinkled on top. Go read it!!

  • Blair

    Samantha is a graduate student with writer's block. She's from a poor background and doesn't really fit in at moneyed Warren University, where her four workshop partners have formed an insular clique. They call themselves the Bunnies – they literally all call each other 'Bunny' – and their conversations are studded with declarations of love, cliched Instagram-hashtag phrases and sycophantic compliments on the brilliance and originality of one another's work. From the sidelines, Samantha finds it

    Samantha is a graduate student with writer's block. She's from a poor background and doesn't really fit in at moneyed Warren University, where her four workshop partners have formed an insular clique. They call themselves the Bunnies – they literally all call each other 'Bunny' – and their conversations are studded with declarations of love, cliched Instagram-hashtag phrases and sycophantic compliments on the brilliance and originality of one another's work. From the sidelines, Samantha finds it nauseating, even as she nurses a deep envy.

    Something's

    about Warren from the beginning. Though it's an Ivy League school, its environs are plagued by frequent incidences of extreme violence (random decapitations, for example). It made me think of

    's Sunnydale – with all the weirdness erupting around Warren, there has to be something Hellmouth-ish about this place. As seen through Samantha's eyes, the Bunnies are putting on a grotesque pantomime act as simpering sorority sisters, their cutesy, indulgent personalities taken to such extremes that they cross over into horror. And when Samantha is finally invited to join the club, she discovers exactly how far and how deep that horror goes.

    The main problem with

    is Samantha's best friend, Ava. The way she speaks to Samantha is, I guess, intended as appealingly blunt – an antidote to the Bunnies' cloying, insincere sweetness – but it just comes off as nasty most of the time. An 'art school drop-out' who carries a flask of alcohol labelled 'Drink Me', says things like 'the breeze is my lover' and goes around wearing a

    she's basically the 10 most insufferable hipsters you've ever met combined into one person. As it turns out, there are reasons for Ava's bluntness and clicheness, but I'm not convinced her appearances are meant to be as irritating as I found them.

    On the other hand, the Bunnies are ostensibly the villains, but they're

    such fun to read about. A mean girl clique subverted; identikit teen-drama bitches given agency, wit and dark appetites. They may be awful, but they're awful in such novel ways – airheads who are fiercely intelligent, saccharine child-women who revel in power and blood – that I loved them. The hallucinatory chapter in which Samantha submits to the Bunnies' hivemind is probably the best segment of the book: trippy, dreamlike, creepy as fuck. I wanted more of the Bunnies, more of Samantha-and-the-Bunnies, and less Samantha-on-her-own, less Ava. (Preferably no Ava at all.)

    The blurb positions

    as

    meets

    which is maybe more useful than accurate: the reference to

    serves as a handy indicator of how incredibly weird it is, but tells you nothing about the story. Personally, I'd say

    reminded me of Marisha Pessl's

    crossed with the craziest, most far-fetched parts of David Mitchell's

    and I'd be inclined to reference

    and

    instead of

    It also made me think of Katie Lowe's

    which in some ways is the inverse of this novel – grimly, disgustingly real where

    is all bizarro Technicolor – but both are about young women experimenting with black magic, and both are full to bursting with lush, overblown prose.

    It's just

    but in a good way. And I would love to see a film or TV adaptation. My mouth is watering just imagining the luxuriant excess and creative gore of this story on screen.

    Bunny

    |

    |

    |

  • karen

    NOW AVAILABLE!!

    this book is straight-up bonkers. seeing this was set “at an elite new england university” with an exclusive clique at its center and seeing it compared to

    , i went into it expecting a

    -y/

    -y type of deal; full of those dark and toxic currents that define adolescent girlhood, where affection shifts into power struggle at the drop of a hat, but also featuring a bunch of soulless smarty-pants big on ritualistic gatherings and down for some light

    NOW AVAILABLE!!

    this book is straight-up bonkers. seeing this was set “at an elite new england university” with an exclusive clique at its center and seeing it compared to

    , i went into it expecting a

    -y/

    -y type of deal; full of those dark and toxic currents that define adolescent girlhood, where affection shifts into power struggle at the drop of a hat, but also featuring a bunch of soulless smarty-pants big on ritualistic gatherings and down for some light murder.

    yes and please

    this… is not that. which is not to say it’s bad AT ALL, it’s just not what i thought i was getting into. it is ALSO not, although this is frequently true of other books, that it is being misrepresented by overzealous marketing. you see, it is also compared to

    , which i have not read, but now that i’ve looked into that book more, if i HAD read it, i probably would have been less taken aback by what this book actually is.

    which is, as previously stated, bonkers.

    this is

    through the looking glass, carroll’s white rabbit split into four excessively co-dependent MFA students; twitchy and touchy-feely and calling each other “bunny,” operating symbiotically(?) as a “we;” each maintaining a specifically regimented style of expression in appearance and craft, but otherwise inseparable.

    samantha, our narrator and entry into this world, is the fifth person in the workshop, on the awkward periphery of these cooing girls who always seem to be monkey-grooming one another and giggling and sparkling all over the place. unlike the bunnies, who are rich and well-assimilated in the jargony twaddle of MFA programs the world over (

    ), samantha is planted firmly in outsider territory; a scholarship student whose darker themes are called ‘angry,’ ‘mean,’ and ‘distant’ by the bunnies, from whom she seems content to maintain her distance; aloof and sarcastically eviscerating them from afar alongside her art school dropout bestie ava; she of the fishnet gloves and veil, the asymmetrical haircut and tattered underwear-as-outerwear look.

    and then, unexpectedly, samantha is formally, by way of origami swan, invited into the bunnies’ inner circle, where she learns an awful lot about creativity, process, vulnerability, and true power.

    so yeah, it’s VERY reminiscent of

    , with its interplay of the frivolous and the dark and the comedic, as well as individual and group dynamics,

    but it’s just as much molly ringwald and annie potts in

    ; outsider snark as a weapon against the allure of the wealthy pretty people, and the spiritual cost of capitulation (which john hughes never addressed, but i always inferred),

    and a vision board collage of style and theme that’s like

    and

    and

    and 92% of john hughes’ oeuvre. and also, oddly, the spice girls, since the bunnies adopt a particular quirky fashion-based persona that sets them apart within their

    persona.

    it’s not bonkers right out of the gate. at first, it seems like it's gonna be a fun-poking campus novel. this book is so funny in its depiction of the MFA world; the fetishizations and the relentless cleverness and posturing and critiques, which i can only imagine is much worse now as millennials tiptoe thru the triggers trying to make art that offends no one and supplying feedback that is nothing but praise, even for the kind of self-consciously manufactured glop people like the bunnies produce. like the one samantha calls “the Duchess,” who writes “inaccessible and cryptic” pieces, she calls

    , “etched on panes of glass using a dagger-shaped diamond she wears around her neck.” or the work of the one samantha has dubbed “Vignette,” who shares “a series of unpunctuated vignettes about a woman named Z who pukes up soup while thinking nihilistic thoughts, then has anal sex in a trailer,” for whom samantha has little patience.

    but, of course, in a workshop of four hydra-like girls and a fawning mentor, an outsider does not have the luxury of honestly speaking her mind.

    samantha herself is not immune to that stereotypically, overly fussy brand of MFA writing, even though we don’t get to see much of the work she produces for the workshop. however, as the narrator, everything is filtered through her descriptions, and the prose is precise, overly crafted; the reader is bludgeoned with adjectives, with a particular emphasis on smells pinned into place with poetic words, where the bunnies’ outfits are described in every scene, creating a sensory overload that is frequently original and poetic, but is sometimes just… too much. don’t get me wrong, i loved most of the writing,

    there’s just a lot of chewy prose here and sometimes it’s a description-bog.

    and then… bonkers ensues.

    it’s really fun and sharp and shivery, with a macabre fairy-tale overlay that gives it a unique spin on the coming-of-age tale. "coming-of-age" might seem misplaced, considering these are MFA students, but they read much younger than their actual age; not just the self-consciously girly-girl bunnies, but also in the themes samantha brings to the narrative; her awkwardness and loneliness and leftover-adolescent self-consciousness about fitting in; finding her place — for all of her ostensible disgust at the bunnies, their camaraderie is not without appeal for someone defined by loneliness and survival-mode embracing of their own otherness.

    it may not have been the book i thought i was going to read, but it was a very pleasant surprise, and even though i am being intentionally vague about where this one’ll take you, i encourage you to find out for yourself, because bonkers is way better than boring.

    ************************************

    that was... unexpected. i need to process this one a little bit. review TK.

  • Krista

    I

    liked Mona Awad's

    – it's sardonically funny, but with very sad underpinnings (like

    or

    ; two other books I loved for the same reason) – and it goes to some unreal extremes to explore loneliness, outsiderness, and the ways in which women can choose to support or destroy one another. It does have a

    vibe, but layered on top of that are dark and twisted fairy tales come to life – which works

    well. When I read Awad's

    , I wished it had more literary oomph; this is the novel I was looking for. (Note: I read an ARC and passages quoted may not be in their final forms.)

    As

    begins, Samantha Mackey is starting the second year of her MFA program at the prestigious Warren University; the only full scholarship student among her all-female cohort. These other women are from very rich families, they clique together and dress like juveniles, and they all write aggressively feminist fiction with mythical twists. (The leader of the pack, whom Samantha has nicknamed Duchess, writes inscrutable “proems” on glass sheets with the dagger-shaped diamond she wears around her neck; the other Bunnies and their workshop advisor – whom Samantha has nicknamed Fosco – lap it up while Samantha rolls her eyes.) After suffering a year of her cohort giving unhelpful criticism during Workshop – accusing Samantha of writing gritty outsider fiction for its own sake – she finds herself suffering writer's block just as she is supposed to be using these last two semesters to polish up her thesis. I don't always love books about writers (especially books about struggling to finish an MFA), but

    delightfully skewers the premise:

    Meanwhile, Samantha has spent the summer hanging out with her new friend, Ava – a snarky freewheeling artist who backs up Samantha's unflattering estimations of her program and the Bunnies – but when the Bunnies make gestures to include Samantha in their circle, Samantha is inextricably drawn to them; even if it imperils her relationship with Ava. After attending their “Smut Salon” and participating in their off-campus “Workshop”, Samantha will be shown what “performing the Body” really means.

    is ironically self-aware: Samantha internally critcises the Bunnies for writing about mythological lovers, and the Bunnies vocally criticise Samantha for writing outsider fiction, and yet

    is an outsider story that darkly references myths and fairy tales. I don't know what “the work performing the body” means either, but I especially loved Awad's metaphors about the body:

    Or:

    And this is definitely feminist writing – so many of the metaphors are about the female body: Fosco looks at her class “in her probing, intensely gynecological way”. There is a pause “so pregnant it delivers, consumes its own spawn, then grows big with child again”. Ava explains about the Bunnies: “These cultish girls...tried to eat her soul like a placenta”. From the intriguing line-by-line writing, to the surprising and insightful narrative, and the art that Awad employs to bring it all together, I loved everything about

    .

  • Betsy

    I'll quote one of the characters to explain my feelings about

    --"And then I feel like screaming JUST SAY IT. TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED. TELL ME WHAT THE FUCK THIS MEANS."

    The publisher's blurb doesn't even begin to capture what happens in Bunny. At first, I thought I'd be reading an R rated version of Mean Girls.

    As I read, I found that wasn't quite right, so then I thought, "Okay, maybe it's Stephen King does Mean Girls."

    It turned out that that description didn't

    I'll quote one of the characters to explain my feelings about

    --"And then I feel like screaming JUST SAY IT. TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED. TELL ME WHAT THE FUCK THIS MEANS."

    The publisher's blurb doesn't even begin to capture what happens in Bunny. At first, I thought I'd be reading an R rated version of Mean Girls.

    As I read, I found that wasn't quite right, so then I thought, "Okay, maybe it's Stephen King does Mean Girls."

    It turned out that that description didn't capture it, either. The best I can come up with is "Stephen King trips on acid and writes an R rated Mean Girls."

    Bunny is so strange that it's hard to form an opinion, but I think I liked it. (Maybe my opinion will change after I sit with it a bit, or maybe I'll be equally as confused.) The weirdness did make some parts of the the plot hard to follow, but I think Bunny is supposed to be disorienting by design. On another note, I appreciated Awad's sense of humor, which is on full display when she describes the Bunnies for the first time. She definitely places us right inside the MC's head!

    This novel is so odd that it's not going to be for everyone, but I'd rate this a 3.5/5 rounded up to 4 stars.

    Thanks to Edelweiss and Viking for providing me with a DRC of this novel.

  • Michelle

    Hmmmm.....

    I have no idea what I just read or how to review it. Does that work as a proper review? I'm not even going to attempt discussing the plot because...because.... See? I truly don't know how to.

    Bizarre, strange, peculiar, unusual are just a few words that come to mind if I had to try and describe this mind fuck of a book. It's a very slip-streamy type of novel. A novel in which the entire time I read I had no idea what was going on and I still don't. Not a fucking clue.

    Hmmmm.....

    I have no idea what I just read or how to review it. Does that work as a proper review? I'm not even going to attempt discussing the plot because...because.... See? I truly don't know how to.

    Bizarre, strange, peculiar, unusual are just a few words that come to mind if I had to try and describe this mind fuck of a book. It's a very slip-streamy type of novel. A novel in which the entire time I read I had no idea what was going on and I still don't. Not a fucking clue.

    Did I like it? I kind of did. I can't deny the talent of this author. She's a wordsmith without a doubt. This book is being compared to Heathers and I think it's an appropriate comparison only this book is so much stranger. So much weirder. Some of the observations made by Samantha, our narrator, are downright snarky and hilarious and I was digging the vibe but then it all gets to be a bit too much. A bit too "out there" even for a weirdo like me.

    Toward the end of the book I came across this quote in which I highlighted because it summed up my thoughts exactly:

    3 *WTF just happened?* stars!

  • Anna Luce

    ★★✰✰✰ 2 stars

    , there are books like

    (which appears approximately

    , one time too many).

    If you are picking up

    thinking that it is some sort of intriguing campus novel, you

    ★★✰✰✰ 2 stars

    , there are books like

    (which appears approximately

    , one time too many).

    If you are picking up

    thinking that it is some sort of intriguing campus novel, you should reconsider given that this book is the anthesis to

    .

    . The 'satirical horror' I was hoping to encounter in

    was largely MIA.

    Each page of this novel tries to be 'sarcastic' by exaggerating the mannerisms and words of certain groups of people (in this case a creative writing clique) which made for a weary reading experience.

    Since the main cast in

    is part of a creative writing MFA program...

    The five girls part of this program are apparently only able to write fiction that reflects their personal life or preferences...

    (

    ):

    Four of these girls are part of a clique that is

    . From the first few pages they are presented as some sort of 'hive-mind', some sort of multi-conscious entity. Some of their conversations between them—as well as the narrator's observations about them—

    .

    Although the narrator keeps insisting that she is 'different' (aka the only 'big' difference between her and the bunnies is her finances)

    . Personally, I don't think the story provides with a convincing reason for the MC to fall in with these girls. Even when the Mc sees their most secretive activities...it seemed that she stayed with them out of laziness (or merely as a way to further the plot).

    Many of the 'bizarre' elements in this story were predictable and had me rolling my eyes.

    . The first few chapters were amusing and the scenes that took place in the creative writing workshop were on point (and reminded me of the creative writing module I took in my first year of uni):

    Yet,

    The narrative mimics the language—and perhaps vision—of this clique of girls:

    . If you like eating candy floss until you feel sick you might be up for it...the narrative—if not the whole story—is

    :

    The narrative's style was

    .

    The plot (if we can call it that) even in its 'wtf moments' is tedious.

    (hair like feathers, tiny pink-y small-ish hand, glossy this and that, teensy-weensy girls who eat teensy-weensy food).

    ...I was never afraid of these

    girls and their stupid activities. A lot of the things seem to just happen to the MC as if she isn't capable of these

    'terrible' things from happening (

    ). Again, I find it ironic that the MC's own writing is criticised for this exact reason:

    I guess you could argue that this is all 'intentional'. The stupid characters, the saccharine and repetitive language, the MC's spinelessness...these things come across this way on purpose...but that seems like a cheap excuse to make the

    of your story 'deliberate'.

  • Kelly

    I think the comp to The Vegetarian is wrong. This isn't like that one. But it is VERY much like

    and other Joey Comeau writing meets Heathers. It's dark and bloody and weird and makes little sense except it also makes complete sense. There's not a good way to explain this one -- it's about a woman named Samantha who is in an all-female MFA workshop at a prestigious school. She loathes the women who she calls bunnies; they're rich and perfect and always write about T

    I think the comp to The Vegetarian is wrong. This isn't like that one. But it is VERY much like

    and other Joey Comeau writing meets Heathers. It's dark and bloody and weird and makes little sense except it also makes complete sense. There's not a good way to explain this one -- it's about a woman named Samantha who is in an all-female MFA workshop at a prestigious school. She loathes the women who she calls bunnies; they're rich and perfect and always write about The Body and Deep Literary Themes, complimenting and complementing each other in as many ways as possible.

    Samantha finds refuge in Ava, an art school dropout. But when she receives an invitation to join the Bunnys for their "Smut Salon" via an origami swan, she attends. And that's when she falls down the most bizarre Lewis Carroll style rabbit hole. Intended.

    This is a horror novel that is infused with incredible dark humor and it's a total evisceration of MFA programs and culture. Whether or not you're a reader/writer, the elite culture will translate into whatever your area of expertise is, and Samantha's perspectives of those on the top will resonate.

    Don't go in expecting for everything...or maybe anything...to make sense. Go in for a good, bizarre time. Because that's exactly what you're going to get.

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