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It’s New Year’s Eve, the holiday of forced gaiety, mandatory fun, and paper hats. While dining out with her husband and their friends, Kirshenbaum's protagonist—an acerbic, mordantly witty, and clinically depressed writer—fully unravels. Her breakdown lands her in the psych ward of a prestigious New York hospital where she refuses all modes of recommended treatment. Instea It’s New Year’s Eve, the holiday of forced gaiety, mandatory fun, and paper hats. While dining out with her husband and their friends, Kirshenbaum's protagonist—an acerbic, mordantly witty, and clinically depressed writer—fully unravels. Her breakdown lands her in the psych ward of a prestigious New York hospital where she refuses all modes of recommended treatment. Instead, she passes the time chronicling the lives of her fellow “lunatics” and writing a novel about how she got to this place. Her story is a hilarious and harrowing deep dive into the disordered mind of a woman who sees the world all too clearly. Propelled by stand-up comic timing and rife with pinpoint insights, her examination of what it means to be unloved, and loved; to succeed, and fail; to be, at once, both impervious and raw ultimately reveals how art can lead us out of—or into—the depths of disconsolate loneliness and piercing grief. Rabbits for Food, Kirshenbaum’s first novel in a decade, is a bravura literary performance. A heartbreaking, irreverent, laugh-out-loud funny meditation on what it’s like to lose your mind.


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It’s New Year’s Eve, the holiday of forced gaiety, mandatory fun, and paper hats. While dining out with her husband and their friends, Kirshenbaum's protagonist—an acerbic, mordantly witty, and clinically depressed writer—fully unravels. Her breakdown lands her in the psych ward of a prestigious New York hospital where she refuses all modes of recommended treatment. Instea It’s New Year’s Eve, the holiday of forced gaiety, mandatory fun, and paper hats. While dining out with her husband and their friends, Kirshenbaum's protagonist—an acerbic, mordantly witty, and clinically depressed writer—fully unravels. Her breakdown lands her in the psych ward of a prestigious New York hospital where she refuses all modes of recommended treatment. Instead, she passes the time chronicling the lives of her fellow “lunatics” and writing a novel about how she got to this place. Her story is a hilarious and harrowing deep dive into the disordered mind of a woman who sees the world all too clearly. Propelled by stand-up comic timing and rife with pinpoint insights, her examination of what it means to be unloved, and loved; to succeed, and fail; to be, at once, both impervious and raw ultimately reveals how art can lead us out of—or into—the depths of disconsolate loneliness and piercing grief. Rabbits for Food, Kirshenbaum’s first novel in a decade, is a bravura literary performance. A heartbreaking, irreverent, laugh-out-loud funny meditation on what it’s like to lose your mind.

30 review for Rabbits for Food

  1. 4 out of 5

    Felicia

    This book did not work for me. Can we talk about the blurb for a minute? There is nothing laugh out loud funny in or about this story. No doubt Bunny is a character in every sense of the word. She is irreverent, always speaking her mind, but there's nothing really funny about it. After a while her snark became a bit overboard and gratuitous. I could only take so much of her narration before it became mundane and skim worthy. The alternating POVs between first person and third person was annoying at This book did not work for me. Can we talk about the blurb for a minute? There is nothing laugh out loud funny in or about this story. No doubt Bunny is a character in every sense of the word. She is irreverent, always speaking her mind, but there's nothing really funny about it. After a while her snark became a bit overboard and gratuitous. I could only take so much of her narration before it became mundane and skim worthy. The alternating POVs between first person and third person was annoying at best. Bunny was far more interesting and I would have enjoyed the book more if she alone told the story. On a positive note, the author did an excellent job at portraying the inner turmoil of a person enduring major depression. I know this because I know this. Unfortunately. "It’s one of the many disadvantages to being mentally ill. You are automatically in the wrong because you are wrong." So... maybe I'm wrong about this book. ** I was provided an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

  2. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Her name is Bunny, and yes as she is quick to say, that is her real name, not a nickname. She is a writer, a very depressed one. One who at a New Year's Eve dinner with her pretentious friends, does something that lands her in a mental hospital. The reader watches her descension, from depression to not being able to cope at all. Although it sounds rather depressing, and yes parts are sad, but it is also humorous, witty and told with a great deal of sensitivity. Wry humor at times seems like the o Her name is Bunny, and yes as she is quick to say, that is her real name, not a nickname. She is a writer, a very depressed one. One who at a New Year's Eve dinner with her pretentious friends, does something that lands her in a mental hospital. The reader watches her descension, from depression to not being able to cope at all. Although it sounds rather depressing, and yes parts are sad, but it is also humorous, witty and told with a great deal of sensitivity. Wry humor at times seems like the only weapon available,and she uses it to great effect. The stories of the other in the institution, alternately humorous and despairing. Sometimes her observations were so spot on I wondered who was the person in need of help. It provides great insights to those who suffer from depression as well as what goes on in an institutional hospital. It is a meaningful book, well told with glimpses into the past life of Bunny. It is hard not to take this humorous but suffering woman into ones heart. I did.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Bunny is our narrator and Bunny suffers from clinical depression. This book allows us as readers to spend some time in the mind of a clinically depressed person. A person on the absolute brink of losing it. And she does lose it during a dinner party with friends. This episode lands her with a stay in a psychiatric facility where she spends her days with the other "loons" as she likes to call them. You would think this book would be bleak as hell but it surprisingly isn't. Bunny is one cynical la Bunny is our narrator and Bunny suffers from clinical depression. This book allows us as readers to spend some time in the mind of a clinically depressed person. A person on the absolute brink of losing it. And she does lose it during a dinner party with friends. This episode lands her with a stay in a psychiatric facility where she spends her days with the other "loons" as she likes to call them. You would think this book would be bleak as hell but it surprisingly isn't. Bunny is one cynical lady that is full of snark and I found her quite humorous. That being said I will admit to having a dry, dark sense of humor. Some people will not find Bunny funny at all. In fact she admits that no one could possibly like her. Bunny is the kind of lady that is brutally honest and this doesn't help her with making friends and sustaining friendships. Her loving husband, Albie, would disagree. He has grown to accept that there is very little he can say or do to boost her spirits. Yet he tries time and time again. Bunny will often say, "Generally speaking, I'm a headache of a person who is not easy to like." It's true. Bunny is not easy to like, but it's possible to love her. As a person that, thankfully, does not suffer from depression my heart really went out to Bunny. I have no idea how that emptiness and loneliness feels. It's as if her body had been hollowed out. Nothing but skin on bones. How all encompassing it is. Bunny will go weeks without leaving the house or even bathing. Hygiene is not high on her list when she get's in these states. What a terrific writer Binnie Kirshenbaum is. I highlighted so many passages while reading. Bunny as a teenager not wanting to visit family on Thanksgiving: "Last year there was an infant, and every one carrying on as if the parents had done something extraordinary like publish a book or win the lottery, until I broke in and said, "The earthworm is impressive because it impregnates itself." After that , they all gave me the cold shoulder except Natalie, my nine-year-old nose picking booger wiping on walls cousin." Teenage Bunny on painting her pink room black: "Not a chance," her mother said. "Not in my house. When you have your own house , you can paint your walls whatever color you want." "For your information," Bunny said, "black isn't a color." Bunny was big on the preface "for your information" a turn of phrase that endeared her to no one. Bunny on her neighbors baby boy taking his first steps: "You're not going to believe this. Rocky is walking." "Yeah? So?" Bunny continues with the task at hand. "They do that. They learn to walk." "But don't you think that's exciting?" "I'd be excited if he were flying. But walking? No." "Do you have to be that way about everything?" "Yes," Bunny said. "I do have to be that way." OMG - that sounds like me. Bunny on New Year's Eve festivities in NYC: In fact, Bunny has never seen a ball drop. Not on television, and she'd have scooped out an eyeball, rather than go, in person, on the ground, to Times Square on New Year's Eve. You couldn't pay me to step foot in NYC on New Years Eve so I can completely relate to this. I think those are enough to give you a proper idea of the type of character you're going to spend time with. People are either going to love Bunny or hate her and I happen to love her. So why only 4 stars for a book that was 95% 5 stars all the way - THAT ENDING! It's abrupt. Too abrupt and I can't say more in fear of spoiling anything. Thank you to NetGalley and Serpent's Tail Books for providing me a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ⚔️ Queen of Villainy ⚔️ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest My first advice to you is to ignore the blurb, as unless you are a very specific type of reader, it is going to give you unrealistic expectations regarding the tone of this novel and what it's actually about. RABBITS FOR FOOD is not a comedy in the usual sense and is unlikely to make you laugh out loud; it is funny, but in the scathing, bleak way that The Cable Guy is funny, or that Cousin Bette is funny-- it's "social commentary as tra Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest My first advice to you is to ignore the blurb, as unless you are a very specific type of reader, it is going to give you unrealistic expectations regarding the tone of this novel and what it's actually about. RABBITS FOR FOOD is not a comedy in the usual sense and is unlikely to make you laugh out loud; it is funny, but in the scathing, bleak way that The Cable Guy is funny, or that Cousin Bette is funny-- it's "social commentary as train wreck"  funny, and a lot of people aren't going to go in for that style of humor. Secondly, this is a book about mental illness, not about "losing one's mind." Mental illness is a chronic health condition and Binnie Kirshenbaum does a fantastic job showing how it can assert itself from a young age in milder forms, only to manifest in a more destructive manner when the person afflicted gets older. Bunny has always been different from the rest of her WASPy, affected family, and they have always resented her for it. Her negativity, and even her cruelty, appear to be byproducts of her depression, but nobody has ever taken the time to feel her out. I suppose her personality could be described as "irreverent," but that implies a lack of caring, and it's pretty obvious that Bunny does take to heart the nasty remarks her friends and family make towards her. As someone who has experienced depression, those who have it may express it in odd ways-- it's more than sadness, it can also be expressed as emptiness or anger. Bunny's anger and bitterness at the world around her, though amusing and oftentimes spot-on, seem to be more of a reflection of her own lack of self-worth and self-value; and if you don't love yourself, it's really hard to love others. We watch Bunny on New Year's Day, building up to what psychologists call an "episode": she is agitated, and not taking care of herself. Her husband, sensing something is wrong, is very worried, and does everything he can to dissuade her from going to the New Year's party with all their friends. Bunny is adamant; she wants to go. We don't know what's going to happen, but we know it can't be good, because the book opens with Bunny in a psychiatric clinic, pondering on how she got there. The book switches back and forth between the Creative Writing prompts Bunny writes within the clinic, and Bunny getting ready for the party that will put her over the edge. Even though there isn't a lot of action, it's still very suspenseful, and her narrative voice, while bitterly sarcastic and misanthropic, is very relatable and clever. I was reminded a lot of GIRL, INTERRUPTED, for its unabashed portrayal of mental illness and recovery, and MY YEAR OF REST AND RELAXATION for the way it juxtaposes mental health against the collective societal "sickness" of a specific period in time, in this case, the superficiality of the late 2000s, when everyone aspired to be a social climber. RABBITS FOR FOOD is such a good book and I feel so lucky that I was able to get an ARC of it to review. Again, it's not a book for everyone, but for those who resonate with it, it's going to be a classic. It certainly filled that niche for me! Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! 5 stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    “What time is it? Bunny asks.” “Nine twenty-three. Albie does not point out that she’d asked the same question when it was nine twenty-one because, as if the previous two minutes never happened, he too, although not word for word, repeats himself”: “I’d be just as happy to stay home”. Albie and Bunny - married couple - have New Years Eve plans.... they are the same as they were in 2006, 2005, and 2004. Last year, Bunny told Albie she’d rather stay home and drink Clorox than go to the party. This y “What time is it? Bunny asks.” “Nine twenty-three. Albie does not point out that she’d asked the same question when it was nine twenty-one because, as if the previous two minutes never happened, he too, although not word for word, repeats himself”: “I’d be just as happy to stay home”. Albie and Bunny - married couple - have New Years Eve plans.... they are the same as they were in 2006, 2005, and 2004. Last year, Bunny told Albie she’d rather stay home and drink Clorox than go to the party. This year, 2008, Bunny knows she will experience despair and regret, but she forges ahead anyway. She insists on going. Same friends - ( Trudy, Elliot, Julian, and Lydia, and the Frankenhoff’s)... Bunny knows it will be an unpleasant dinner - and the worse part of the night will be watching the New Years Eve Ball drop. Albie tries to talk Bunny out from going to the after- party ( Bunny’s worse part: Ball Dropping count down at the Frankenhoff’s house)! Albie knows Bunny is frail - depressed -and never knows how her behavior might be at a party with pretentious friends. Albie and Bunny go out to dinner with friends frequently- but it’s not easy for Bunny. It’s simply not easy being Bunny. Even living with her ‘name’ is not easy either. Her parents actually named her Bunny - her birth given name - because they raised rabbits for food. ( ok?/!) A professor in college didn’t believed Bunny was anything more than a pet name - he pressed on telling Bunny that nobody would take her serious with a name like that. It was easy to feel the ongoing frustrations Bunny had - re-visits one too many times regarding her name -her god-given-name.... let alone being inside her own head. Bunny, a writer, a middle child, had a long history with depression. Bunny is self aware. She knows she is not easy to like ( hopefully easier to love). She judges herself harshly ... feels guilty for being the way she is - and shameful. She started seeing therapists in college....went through many Psychiatrists and many different prescribed medications. Bunny’s mental illness is not easy for Albie, either. “More than the weeping, more than the lethargy more than the battiness of it all, it’s the self- inflicted trauma that disturbs Albie most”. Bunny ends up in a psychiatric hospital. The mental ward is not like a prison - but the inmates don’t talk about what they are in for. They don’t have to ask. Depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anorexic, ... all we’re dealing with psychiatric issues. Much of this book is the sad reality of mental illness. “Despair can’t be monitored like blood pressure or measured in centimeters like a tumor”. Much of this book is funny, too. Bunny’s sarcasm is often a riot - and I found myself having those quiet-reading-laughs. Several scenes are hilarious... Dinner is not just dinner. 🥢 Great satire laughs! But there was a nurse: Andrea... that had me scratching my head. I found her more irritating and inappropriate than funny or sad. My fear is she wasn’t much different than real nurses who work in psychiatric units. The very first line of this novel cracks me up. ( shouldn’t be funny- but.....I was quietly smirking/ laughing inside). “The dog is late, and I’m wearing pajamas made from the same material as Handi Wipes, which is reason enough for me to wish I were dead”. HANDI- WIPES?/!!! Where did the author come up with that one?/!! Too funny! Overall - great wit.. and insights...with flashback childhood stories. I enjoyed this novel!! This is the first time I’ve read anything by Binnie Kirshenbaum. I’d like to read other books she’s written.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    Many people have said "Rabbits for Food" is funny, even very funny, so that's what I expected...but I didn't laugh much. It's written in very short chapters that go back and forth in time. The protagonist, Bunny, is a smart woman, a published novelist living in Manhattan with her husband. and suffering from major Depression. One New Year's Eve, at dinner in a pretentious restaurant with some jaded friends, Bunny loses it. She's taken to a psych ward and put on a hold. A lot of the book takes pla Many people have said "Rabbits for Food" is funny, even very funny, so that's what I expected...but I didn't laugh much. It's written in very short chapters that go back and forth in time. The protagonist, Bunny, is a smart woman, a published novelist living in Manhattan with her husband. and suffering from major Depression. One New Year's Eve, at dinner in a pretentious restaurant with some jaded friends, Bunny loses it. She's taken to a psych ward and put on a hold. A lot of the book takes place there. There are plenty of disagreeable, selfish, unpleasant people in the world and it's frustratingly unclear if Bunny was one even before she had Depression. Or even if she was born with Depression which simmered until it boiled over that night in the restaurant. The author does a great job describing the parts of Bunny made of Depression. She's unhappy, unproductive and unmotivated. Disconnected and distant, she sits around the apartment all day in dirty pajamas. She barely showers, has no appetite. Because she's been published we know her life hasn't always been this way. Her husband is frustrated but we don't get to know him. The book is written only from Bunny's viewpoint and every other character is a stick figure. I get how people find Bunny's sarcasm funny and entertaining even though I didn't. Some of her thoughts made me uncomfortable. It's not that I think mental illness is off limits to humor; I loved "Girl Interrupted" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." This book is nothing like those. It's always and only about Bunny. I gave it three stars because Bunny is a memorable character who has stayed with me. I'm left wondering what her earlier life was like and what became of her after the book ended. I appreciate that food for thought. Without it "Rabbits for Food" would just have been an enigmatic, two-star, too-sad story.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    Thank you, Netgalley and Serpent's Tail for sending me a digital ARC, in exchange for an honest review. Wow. I wasn't expecting to like "Rabbits for Food" as much as I did. I thought it was going to be a watered-down version of "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath, but Binnie Kirshenbaum really proved she's got a strong writing voice in the form of her mentally fragile protagonist, Bunny. Bunny is a clinically depressed New Yorker who's sense of reality begins to unravel over the course of New Year's E Thank you, Netgalley and Serpent's Tail for sending me a digital ARC, in exchange for an honest review. Wow. I wasn't expecting to like "Rabbits for Food" as much as I did. I thought it was going to be a watered-down version of "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath, but Binnie Kirshenbaum really proved she's got a strong writing voice in the form of her mentally fragile protagonist, Bunny. Bunny is a clinically depressed New Yorker who's sense of reality begins to unravel over the course of New Year's Eve in 2008. Bunny has a somewhat supportive husband, Albie (he's got secrets of his own, though) but she doesn't have many close friends, and her sisters absolutely despise her ever since adolescence. Bunny has been depressed on and off since she was a teenager. But her depression has never been this extreme until she has a psychotic break at a New Year's Eve dinner celebration with her so-called "friends". Bunny is checked involuntarily into a psychiatric hospital for her own protection, and to work on her recovery. There she meets other "psychos" (her words, not mine) like herself. Even though she claims she has no friends, she feels a kinship and understanding with these other patients. There's some flashback scenes where Bunny talks about the only true friend she ever had, Stella, who tragically died years before. I can honestly say that "Rabbits for Food" is an accurate portrayal of mental illness. It unnerved me in the best possible way. The way Bunny describes her depression is so vivid and detailed. I really liked her intensity, sarcasm, and brutal honesty. This book won't be for everyone, but I really appreciate any author that bravely writes about mental illness, in any shape or form.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn Crupi

    This will likely be in my favourite novels of the year list. Perfect reading after Juliet the Maniac too as it shows exactly what can be done with this kind of narrative about a disordered mind. I love very funny books about very sad things. Bunny, our protagonist, is acerbic and witty and clever in exactly the ways I wanted her to be. Her depression, grief and neurosis is perfectly rendered. And what Kirshenbaum does so well is the details. The details! This book is glorious. A rare five star r This will likely be in my favourite novels of the year list. Perfect reading after Juliet the Maniac too as it shows exactly what can be done with this kind of narrative about a disordered mind. I love very funny books about very sad things. Bunny, our protagonist, is acerbic and witty and clever in exactly the ways I wanted her to be. Her depression, grief and neurosis is perfectly rendered. And what Kirshenbaum does so well is the details. The details! This book is glorious. A rare five star read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    A black comedy about Bunny, a tactless and less-than-successful New York City writer who winds up in a mental hospital on New Year’s Eve 2008, after a restaurant meal with pretentious friends ends with her stabbing herself in the thigh with a fork. Flashbacks and creative writing prompts give glimpses into Bunny’s past – growing up as a slighted middle child, losing her best friend and a beloved cat, her long history with psychiatrists and medication for depression, etc. – in both the first and A black comedy about Bunny, a tactless and less-than-successful New York City writer who winds up in a mental hospital on New Year’s Eve 2008, after a restaurant meal with pretentious friends ends with her stabbing herself in the thigh with a fork. Flashbacks and creative writing prompts give glimpses into Bunny’s past – growing up as a slighted middle child, losing her best friend and a beloved cat, her long history with psychiatrists and medication for depression, etc. – in both the first and the third person. Scenes in the mental hospital introduce a quirky cast of secondary characters and a byzantine set of rules about what’s allowed and what’s not. Bunny’s sarcastic voice is a draw, and the writing is vivid and often funny. However, the book is so dark that I suspect many will struggle to sympathize with its unlikable characters. Those particularly interested in an inside look at mental institutions may still want to read it. (Given the author’s name, I had to wonder to what extent this is autobiographical. In the novel, Bunny is the character’s real name, not a nickname; her parents raised rabbits for food, thus the title phrase.)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Sullivan

    It’s New Year’s Eve and Bunny is on the verge of a mental breakdown. Named because her parents raised rabbits for food, Bunny knows that she’s unlikeable. She’s embarrassed to be “suffering” from depression because “suffering” is a word that should be reserved for people in more dire situations than hers. Rabbits for Food is like The Bell Jar crossed with Ottessa Moshfegh. It’s observational and wry and hilarious: aware of the seriousness of its subject matter, but nevertheless committed to irrev It’s New Year’s Eve and Bunny is on the verge of a mental breakdown. Named because her parents raised rabbits for food, Bunny knows that she’s unlikeable. She’s embarrassed to be “suffering” from depression because “suffering” is a word that should be reserved for people in more dire situations than hers. Rabbits for Food is like The Bell Jar crossed with Ottessa Moshfegh. It’s observational and wry and hilarious: aware of the seriousness of its subject matter, but nevertheless committed to irreverence. The result is a masterful depiction of the monotony of depression and the seemingly futile quest to overcome it within the halls of a psych ward where the food is disgusting and the medications have excruciating side effects and the color scheme is an uninspired beige and it’s hard not to laugh at the irony of expecting people to come out of a place like that better than when they came in. I loved this book and will be recommending it to everyone.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    Credit to Kirshenbaum for tackling the topic of mental illness, but the tone is uneven and at times jarring. You know how there are mean drunks? The protagonist here is a mean depressive, and no matter how many times she and other characters announce that nobody likes her, it still is painful to spend time with her, and it doesn't make her "humor" any less cruel. And does the protagonist have to be not just mentally ill but a briliiant writer who lives in Manhattan? This wasn't a hate read for m Credit to Kirshenbaum for tackling the topic of mental illness, but the tone is uneven and at times jarring. You know how there are mean drunks? The protagonist here is a mean depressive, and no matter how many times she and other characters announce that nobody likes her, it still is painful to spend time with her, and it doesn't make her "humor" any less cruel. And does the protagonist have to be not just mentally ill but a briliiant writer who lives in Manhattan? This wasn't a hate read for me, but it sorely taxed my capacity for empathy. On the other hand, it left me feeling sad (although not moved), so maybe that's a win for the author? In any case, YMMV.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    I am so confused. I feel stupid because I definitely missed something. First of all, “laugh out loud”? Did the person who wrote the blurb actually read the book? This is one of the most depressing books I’ve ever read. Everyone is unlikeable. Memories that are important are never really addressed. And I don’t understand the end AT ALL. Frustrating.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sunbern

    Unfunny, bitter, sarcastic, self-indulgefest

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dana M

    Dark humor in the vein of Ottessa Moshfegh. Super funny if you're into psych ward common room humor (I am).

  15. 5 out of 5

    debra

    Diane S. wrote an excellent review for this title. Can't count how many times I have relied on Diane S to help me choose my next read and to make "my reviews" so easy to write- as in-"See Diane S's excellent review." : ))

  16. 5 out of 5

    Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)

    This book will without a doubt be in my top ten list for the year. “No matter what is wrong with Bunny, whatever you want to call it, one thing is certain—to be sick in the head is not at all the same as being normal sick. If you are normal sick, people will at least pretend to care.” Darkly comedic while offering a wry and keen perspective on the strange necessity of human interaction and relationships, Kirshenbaum explores depression and mental anxiety—those invisible disorders of the mind. I re This book will without a doubt be in my top ten list for the year. “No matter what is wrong with Bunny, whatever you want to call it, one thing is certain—to be sick in the head is not at all the same as being normal sick. If you are normal sick, people will at least pretend to care.” Darkly comedic while offering a wry and keen perspective on the strange necessity of human interaction and relationships, Kirshenbaum explores depression and mental anxiety—those invisible disorders of the mind. I related to main character Bunny in so many ways. She just wants to be left alone to read. She says what she thinks and feels in situations—almost especially when it is the wrong thing to say. When she feels like throwing something across the room, she does it. And all the time, there’s something ticking in her mind, something that says—why me? Why am I different, why do I act this way? Why do I feel this way? Why can’t I stop it? I think we all feel alone in the crowd, at least sometimes. The first half of the story follows her descent from her point of view, the debilitating feeling of being stuck in your own head and not being able to get out. When no one quite understands what is wrong or how to help you, when it has been a lifetime of struggling just to get to a place of semi-normality. I loved how the narrative—mostly set on December 31, 2008, as Bunny prepares to go out to dinner and a New Year’s Eve party with her friends—is constantly in flux as she remembers pieces of her past, as little moments and objects fit together into a wider narrative of childhood, loss, friendship, and the buildup of her depression. The second half of the story is what happens next, when it all becomes too much, and in Bell Jar, Girl, Interrupted, and Cuckoo’s Nest fashion, an abrupt new way of life begins, for better or for worse—for real or imagined. Brilliant, thought-provoking, emotionally stirring, truly relatable, and a true reminder of the power of fiction. My thanks to Soho for my copy of this one to read and review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    DNF @ 26% (Life is too short not to DNF average books.)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Constance

    What a voice! Heartbreaking and hilarious, just the tonic for those times you wanted to slit your throat if you had to spend one more minute with pretentious snobs--like a marriage of The Catcher in the Rye and The Bell Jar.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lizzie

    Sylvia Plath’s melancholy meets Liane Moriarty’s humor in Kirshenbaum’s newest novel. An intimate look into the mind of a clinically depressed woman, this book is sure to resonate with anyone who’s experienced hospitalization, depression’s grasp, or how it feels to be unknown.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Wow! Fucking wow! I mean, wow!

  21. 4 out of 5

    TraceyL

    A more modern version of Girl, Interrupted, a woman is institutionalized when her general antisocial behavior becomes self-destructive and dangerous. I thought the characters were really well fleshed out. The main character had good reason to hate her family members and neighbors, but her mental illness exaggerated her reactions. Good read. A more modern version of Girl, Interrupted, a woman is institutionalized when her general antisocial behavior becomes self-destructive and dangerous. I thought the characters were really well fleshed out. The main character had good reason to hate her family members and neighbors, but her mental illness exaggerated her reactions. Good read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Renae Hinchey

    I read many good reviews on this book with comments regarding it being brilliant, witty, and hilarious. I found it to be none of these things. Bunny, the protagonist is a published novelist living in Manhattan with her husband. She suffers from depression and is eventually institutionalized when her antisocial behavior becomes self destructive. I listened on Audible and the story was told by Bunny, who I found chatty and unlikable, and not at all humorous. I guess you could call it wry humor, bu I read many good reviews on this book with comments regarding it being brilliant, witty, and hilarious. I found it to be none of these things. Bunny, the protagonist is a published novelist living in Manhattan with her husband. She suffers from depression and is eventually institutionalized when her antisocial behavior becomes self destructive. I listened on Audible and the story was told by Bunny, who I found chatty and unlikable, and not at all humorous. I guess you could call it wry humor, but I found it hard to find any humor in mental illness. I was so bored with the dialog that I just couldn't get past the ninth chapter. Nothing gripped me to go any further. Needless to say, this is a book that I could not recommend.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Bryan

    Heartbreaking and oftentimes funny story narrated by Bunny who suffers, really and truly suffers, from depression. The story starts at her home with her husband Albie and travels forward to a hospital stay and backwards a bit to her childhood. In the end I am just sad, although fiction it is also quite true. “ why is everything – the walls, the furniture, the carpet, the curtains – in a spectrum of colors that, in the crayon box, would have names like: Listless, Hopeless, Sour Milk?”

  24. 4 out of 5

    Esther King

    Depression is an absolute bitch. If you have ever suffered from it, or watched someone you love suffer from it, you will find within this book more than ample material to relate to. Bunny has clinical depression, and it is, at best, frustrating, non-sensical, horrific, and debilitating. She’s lived through this all her life, egged on by her family situation and the illness of her cat, and it’s destroying her life. Her husband seeks solace in the arms of someone else, and she’s so beyond miserabl Depression is an absolute bitch. If you have ever suffered from it, or watched someone you love suffer from it, you will find within this book more than ample material to relate to. Bunny has clinical depression, and it is, at best, frustrating, non-sensical, horrific, and debilitating. She’s lived through this all her life, egged on by her family situation and the illness of her cat, and it’s destroying her life. Her husband seeks solace in the arms of someone else, and she’s so beyond miserable that she can’t find it in herself to care. To some this may seem like a contrite, somewhat whiny set of circumstances, but to anyone who has even been near depression, it makes complete sense. Yoga usually does a big fat load of nothing, medication is unreliable and difficult, and sometimes there’s little you can do but face the oncoming wave. This book is for those people. The story was well-written and just the right amount of sarcasm and darkness was tossed in, and it just forms a fascinating and vital image of how life is in the dark abyss that is depression.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    This book is a brilliant, humorous, and painfully acute look at mental illness. Bunny has a mental breakdown on New Year's Eve and is sent to the hospital for in-patient care. The book follows her observations of fellow patients while chronicling what led her to that place. The depiction of depression is spot on and chilling, while the way that Bunny sees the world is also incredibly funny and dark. In many ways, this reminds me of The Bell Jar in a more modern setting. There is a meta narrative This book is a brilliant, humorous, and painfully acute look at mental illness. Bunny has a mental breakdown on New Year's Eve and is sent to the hospital for in-patient care. The book follows her observations of fellow patients while chronicling what led her to that place. The depiction of depression is spot on and chilling, while the way that Bunny sees the world is also incredibly funny and dark. In many ways, this reminds me of The Bell Jar in a more modern setting. There is a meta narrative here, as it's a story about a writer writing her observations of the experience while simultaneously encouraging readers to wonder if this is a memoir or a work of fiction (view spoiler)[ and we get that nice little wink at the very end of the book, which was a brilliant conclusion (hide spoiler)] . There were some killer lines throughout, and one that sticks out to me is about how sometimes, grief gets buried within us, even after we think we've moved through it, and it awakens anew. We see this play out in Bunny's recollections of Angela, her first beloved cat. And really, I think in the end, the big takeaway on this one is that we're all a level of crazy because we're humans, with emotions and feelings and experiences, and it's a matter of finding a way to balance those things in ways society deems appropriate (view spoiler)[ or not, I guess, if you consider electric convulsive therapy (hide spoiler)] .

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alison Hardtmann

    Bunny is depressed and has been depressed her entire life, although she was usually able to function in the world. She hasn't left her apartment in weeks and bathing is an unsurmountable chore. But she is going to make it to the regular New Year's Eve dinner out with their friends and to the gathering afterward, even though her patient and kind husband tells her, over and over, that she doesn't need to. Rabbits for Food by Binnie Kirshenbaum tells how Bunny's life has been derailed by her chroni Bunny is depressed and has been depressed her entire life, although she was usually able to function in the world. She hasn't left her apartment in weeks and bathing is an unsurmountable chore. But she is going to make it to the regular New Year's Eve dinner out with their friends and to the gathering afterward, even though her patient and kind husband tells her, over and over, that she doesn't need to. Rabbits for Food by Binnie Kirshenbaum tells how Bunny's life has been derailed by her chronic depression, which she can't escape, no matter how many therapists and doctors she visits, no matter how many drugs and combinations of drugs she's prescribed. The novel follows Bunny's experiences and thoughts closely, but this isn't a sad instructional tale. Bunny is too much herself for that - she's not a very likable character, although one can see that she's witty and sarcastic when she's at her best. As she spirals down into needing to stay at a psychiatric facility (not a spoiler, it's revealed in the opening pages) she finds herself making a drastic choice, a choice make believable by how well Kirshenbaum has described Bunny's lived experience. Kirshenbaum is a talented writer and I'm not sure many authors could have kept me reading about a woman whose life is reduced to a few shades of grey, occasionally colored by annoyance. I thought the final sentence reduced the impact of the novel and I wish it hadn't been there, but complaining about a single sentence is to be looking very hard for things not to like about this unusual and extraordinary book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Rabbits For Food is an extremely dark and bizarre story about a unlikeable character who suffers from mental illness. Although the dialogue is sometimes sarcastic and witty (and the writer is quite talented), this book is just a bit too weird for me.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    RABBITS FOR FOOD allows readers a front row seat in watching the effects of severe depression play out in Bunny's life, our main protagonists, who eventually finds herself in a psychiatric hospital. The narrative zooms both in and out as we experience life filtered through Bunny's perspective while also experiencing Bunny through the eyes of others. Admittedly, Bunny is a tough character to like--even her own family heartlessly chides Bunny that she herself is to blame for no one liking her. Bun RABBITS FOR FOOD allows readers a front row seat in watching the effects of severe depression play out in Bunny's life, our main protagonists, who eventually finds herself in a psychiatric hospital. The narrative zooms both in and out as we experience life filtered through Bunny's perspective while also experiencing Bunny through the eyes of others. Admittedly, Bunny is a tough character to like--even her own family heartlessly chides Bunny that she herself is to blame for no one liking her. Bunny is sarcastic, flippant, rude, and unpredictable. Yet even so, Bunny is a sympathetic character who I came to care about, and she speaks to the complexity of treating mental health disorders that are elusive and intangible. This book also explores the common perception that depression can be blamed on the individual, all while importantly exposing the inaccuracy (and cruelty) of this stereotype. This is a "quiet" kind of book in terms of plot, and I would describe it as more of a character study than anything else, as well as a cerebral examination of the experience of depression on an individual level. As such, it is an emotionally heavy book-- even the humor present in the book is sardonic and has a biting edge to it. With that said though, this book is certainly one worth reading for those interested in the topic of mental health, and Kirshenbaum's mastery of her prose adds to the experience. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me a eARC of the Kindle version of RABBITS FOR FOOD in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amy Wallen

    To laugh and cry out loud simultaneously is my favorite way to read. The main character, Bunny, is clinically depressed and she has opinions on everything. Honesty can be the most hilarious way to get through life. Maybe not the sanest, but at least you're laughing hysterically all the way through the gates of the asylum. And that's where Bunny ends up. My heart swelled and burst over and over for Bunny and her plight. She sees the world as I see it, and I'm sure so many others of us do too. Rea To laugh and cry out loud simultaneously is my favorite way to read. The main character, Bunny, is clinically depressed and she has opinions on everything. Honesty can be the most hilarious way to get through life. Maybe not the sanest, but at least you're laughing hysterically all the way through the gates of the asylum. And that's where Bunny ends up. My heart swelled and burst over and over for Bunny and her plight. She sees the world as I see it, and I'm sure so many others of us do too. Read it and weep, and guffaw. Good luck to those of you who don't have a sense of humor because it's the only sane way to survive.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    This book is not comedy, although there is some very dark humor. Outstanding writing leads us through a story of depression and relationships. Highly recommend.

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