Review: Bunny by Mona Awad (Spoiler-Free)
Suddenly, I am the weird, sad circus vegetable.
This may be the weirdest book I've ever read. And as someone who actively seeks out weird fiction, that is really saying something.
I am obsessed with everything this book does, but the writing is what elevates it to perfection. Awad's command of style and tone is ingenious and creates the meta-narrative that propels Bunny from a work of literary horror to one of searing satire.
She touches on so many themes—female friendships, loneliness, academia, class, privilege, etc.—and every one of them revolves around one thing: toxicity. She pulls everything to its utmost extreme, plunging the reader down the rabbit hole (pun intended) into the hallucinogenic fever dream that is Wonderland, or in this case, Warren University. The nods to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland are blatant (the Bunnies, "Drink Me", "Eat Me", the list goes on), and they only further tie into the commentary on fiction, derivation, story, and creativity.
There is so much about Bunny that I will fail to capture in this review, both on purpose and due to inability. Readers should go in without knowing the absolute what-the-fuckery they are about to endure, but I wish I could properly communicate the total mastery of craft that is Awad's writing for anyone interested in giving this book a try.
I suppose I'll have to leave you with a small passage, but please remember, I'm only including the normal ones. There is so much in this book you need to discover on your own. Name-swapping, first-person plural, a collective hivemind, dialogue and thoughts becoming one and the same, blood blood so much blood, nom nom nom, suffocating hugs, Drink Me, Samantha, is that Beowulf or Donald Glover?
The way she says alone makes it sound like a cave. Like some hideous, dark cave whose oozing walls are teeming with all the unpleasant things of the world, and I am crawling willingly, brazenly, into this awful space of my own free will. Shoveling the vermin I find scuttling across the floor into my mouth for sustenance.
I tell her no, of course not. Not alone. But her smile says how easily she has punctured my sad girl lie.