Well time to get my afterthoughts down on Robert Rankin’s highly imaginative Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse, the latest ‘last read’ in my 50 Novel reading challenge, and highly imaginative it is too – Boy (Jack) goes to city to seek fortune. City turns out to be former Toy Town with population comprising of toys and nursery-rhyme characters. Serial killer is on the loose killing off nursery-rhyme characters one by one. Boy teams up with sawdust-filled detective teddy bear in order to hunt down the killer……and so on. That imaginative enough for you? I thought so. It was for me too )
Hollow Chocolate Bunnies is actually quite a fun read in a Monty Python-esque kind of way, and Rankin really succeeds quite well at being both clever and witty. His style of writing takes a little getting used to, it can be quite self-indulgent at times, but that seems to add to the story rather than detract from it. His story tends to go off on an unexpected tangent at times and you wonder what relevance his ‘ramblings’ have to the story, but he cleverly brings everything back on track and ties things back in with the story nicely.
His clever take on the lives of the nursery rhyme characters after becoming rich and famous, is perhaps Rankin’s ‘crowning glory’ of the book and it’s delightfully entertaining. For instance, Boy Blue ends up with his own haute couture fashion house in Toy City called Oh Boy!, where ‘blue is the new black’. Madame Goose runs an house of ill repute where Jill (of Jack and Jill fame), is one of the ‘working women’, and we find out that Jack Spratt has gone through a messy divorce with his wife over ‘irreconcilable culinary differences’:o) Funny Stuff!
Another highlight of the book for me comes from Rankin’s explanation of the various religions that exist in Toy City, outrageous toy following religions such as the Church of Mechanology, Big Box Fella and the Daughters of the Unseeable Upness etc. Rankin goes into some detail on each of these religion’s core beliefs and it’s entertaining stuff (I seem to be using the word ‘stuff’ an awful lot in these afterthoughts. Apologies for the unprofessionalism), provided you’re prepared to read it through until you fully understand it (or more probably you’ll read it through once and understand it perfectly – I’m just a little slow )).
Jack’s main relationship in Toy City is with a detective bear called Eddie and I love how well they get on with each other, and watching their relationship deepening as the story progresses (no not THAT deep, although it wouldn’t have surprised me if it did )). Eddie the bear has some quite hilarious idiosyncracies and he is by far my most favourite character in the book.
So all in all I found Hollow Chocolate Bunnies to be a really entertaining read. It’s ideal for a time when you just want something light and uncomplicated. It may never be a literary classic but it’s definitely worth reading if only for the novelty of seeing some of your childhood nursery-rhyme favourites come to a sticky end.
Favourite Quote: The Daughters of the Unseeable Upness is a movement composed entirely of dolls – but only those dolls that have weighted eyes which automatically close when the doll’s head is tilted backwards. Such city-dwelling dolls can never see the sky, as their eyes shut when they lean backwards to look upwards. These dolls therefore believe that the sky is a sacred place that must not be seen, and that all who do see it risk instant damnation
Favourite Scene: Definitely Jack’s first meeting with Eddie the bear in a dingy alleyway in Toy City. It’s a scene where the dawn of realisation sweeps over him, nd he realises that things in this city just aren’t quite normal.
What this novel has taught me about writing: Have fun with your writing and be outrageous and imaginative. Take an existing theme/material (without plagiarising of course), adapt it, change it and have fun with it.