King of Rabbits

King of Rabbits


Kai lives in a mixed-race family on a rural council estate in Somerset where he and his three older sisters have three different dads, and his mum is being led into crack addiction by his petty-thief father. He idolises his dad, adores his friend Saffie and the school rabbit Flopsy, and is full of ambition to be the fastest runner in Middledown Primary. He and Saffie build a secret world of friendship in the school garden. But Kai's natural optimism, imagination and energy run up against adult behaviour he doesn't understand: his parents' on-and-off romance, his dad's increasing addiction and the limitations of poverty. Despite the people who try to look out for him, notably his loving Nanny Sheila and his big sister Leah, Kai's life drifts towards a tragedy from which it is hard for him to recover. The refuge he seeks in his love of nature, and the wild rabbits who have made their burrows in the woods, may not be refuge enough.

Karla Neblett has created a vivid language that is both crafted and raw to tell a story of class, race and how our society fails working class young men.

Our Review

If you are looking for a book to chew you up and spit you out then look no further than King of Rabbits. It’s raw and gritty and emotive.

“Doesn’t everyone start life happy?  I did…I was happy till I was six.”

Kai lives on a council estate with his mum, sisters and deadbeat dad. Kai’s mum has four kids by different dads and an alcohol problem she is always threatening to give up. His dad is a petty thief with a history of hard drug use and the two are a poor influence on each other.

As a mum the casual drug use, heaving drinking and sexual activity in front of her children horrified me and I felt furious for much of the book.

The book is set in two timelines and there is a vast difference in mood in the two timelines. In the first timeline I felt like Kai’s life was only bleak for the rider, he was more than happy with the situation. In the second timeline the reality of his family life has fully hit home and it is bleak.

“Close my eyes. Mind keeps running over the same old shit. How it was then. How it is now. How I need to get away.”

In the first timeline Kai has hopes and dreams, he wants to be a treehouse builder when he is older or failing that he wants to be a thief like his dad. He and his best friend Saffie share this ambition and decide to practice their skills as often as possible.

In the second timeline Kai feels hopeless, trapped in a life and relationship he doesn’t want and like he has no one to talk to.

King of Rabbits was unbearably sad and highly readable.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 4/5

Read & Shared 57 Times.

I hope you enjoyed this book review, please consider sharing it with others.

Get In Touch

Please feel free to leave a comment to this book review below. Or even leave your own review if you like.
If you run a blog and/or have posted a review to this book, a Q & A or general author interview online you can always add a trackback to it here and following moderation we'll add a link to it below.