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White Rabbit Paperback – December 6, 1996

3.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Phillips's wise and witty first novel recounts a fateful day in the life of Ruth Caster Hubble, 88, who resides with her daft but devoted husband, Henry, in a condo in Laguna Beach, Calif. The title refers to the Caster family tradition of saying "White Rabbit" to one another on the first day of every month; on this particular White Rabbit day, Ruth is haunted by blurred visions of a snow-colored bunny that cause her to feel "as if all her routines were under attack by some insidious force of nature." These routines are portrayed in poignant detail, from the arranging of the protagonist's precisely composed breakfast to the steps in her morning beauty regime, to how she instructs Henry to separate the garbage; as the day progresses, however, Ruth's set ways are increasingly interrupted by memories of events and people past. Phillips brings a frank yet empathetic eye to the rich array of characters who appear either in person or through Ruth's reminiscences?including the woman's beloved first husband, Hale, who died decades ago and whose imperfections are revealed in the novel's climax; her eccentric, free-spirited Aunt Elizabeth; her successful but confused granddaughter, Karen, who drops by for dinner. Most memorable of all is Ruth herself, independent and caustic yet deeply caring, whose self-assured personality, tempered by loneliness, is fully realized. Deftly balancing humor with difficult questions about living and dying ("Would life without illusion be any more bearable, or meaningful, or kind?" Ruth wonders), Phillips, an author who, at age 28, is still near the beginning of her own adulthood, has managed to write a perceptive and sophisticated novel about a woman at the end of hers.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

It is the first day of the month, a lucky White Rabbit day, and Ruth calls granddaughter Karen in the early morning hours to say so first. After all, at 88 she needs all the luck she can muster. Foiled when Karen's faithless husband answers the phone, Ruth proceeds with her day?which will hardly be average. Despite attempts to adhere to her compulsive daily routine, Ruth is plagued by myriad pains, hallucinations, and memories of her past, primarily of her dearly loved first husband (as usual, she is aggravated by her current husband). By day's end, and perhaps simultaneously with the end of her life, she is left with two questions: Is it better to accept facts as they are or to reflect on how things might have been? Would life without illusions be any more bearable, or meaningful, or kind? These are worthy considerations for any of us. This first novel is well written but a bit depressing. Recommended for larger fiction collections.?Kimberly G. Allen, MCI Corporate Information Resources Ctr., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: HarpPeren (December 6, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060977191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060977191
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,125,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
White Rabbit by Kate Phillips
WHITE RABBIT was Kate Phillip's first novel, and for a first novel she did a very good job. This book is a day in the life of Ruth Caster Armstrong Hubble, an 80-something old woman who we find is obsessive, inflexible, and treats her poor husband like dirt. The novel is plotted out to the minute, giving the reader a clear vision of what her daily life was all about.
During this day in the life of poor Ruth, we slowly learn about her life story. Her love of her life, Hale Armstrong, died decades ago, but she still held a torch for this man that taught her what love was all about. And, despite his death, he still owned her heart. There didn't seem to be any love left for poor Henry, except she does love her dear grand daughter Karen, who is going through some marital troubles of her own.
Because of the minute by minute telling of this day, we see every little detail that she goes through, including bladder control problems, her irate attitude towards her husband Henry, every little thought process, even her daily ritual of throwing out the trash (and it goes into great detail).
At the same time, she starts to flashback to younger days, and we slowly learn about why she became the woman she ended out to be. Why did she marry Henry, for goodness sakes? When did Hale die? Were there other men in her life? What type of woman was she, in her prime?
As I read the novel, I found that little by little, Ruth's forgotten past was slowly revealed, and so by the time I got to the very last page, it was another AHA moment for me. I felt it to be a very sad revelation of a life that had many choices, but because of the choices she did make along the way, it shaped her into the pessimistic old lady she was today.
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Format: Paperback
Kate Phillips has masterpieced the craft of novel writing in this debut. An excellent story led by a heroine that is hard to find in mainstrean literature. I found myself laughing out loud at the humor and characters so brilliantly created by Phillips. A book that will make the reader laugh and cry with a surprising twist at the end. I'm looking forward to reading more from Kate Phillips in the future.
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By A Customer on March 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Excellent book for a first time author. I kept looking at her age and couldn't believe it was written by someone 28 and writing an 88 year old viewpoint! I loved Ruth, she was so open and yet had such tragic loves in her life. I think this book would be great to read for a book club or English lit class.
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By A Customer on December 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
I have never in my life (and I read a lot) read a novel that so perfectly balances real life hardships with real life humor. Phillips does not sugar coat her characters, she asserts them boldly--much to her credit--Hurrah! I guarantee that if you read this book you will laugh while a tear wells up in the corner of your eye. Remarkable.
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Format: Paperback
I am so surprised by people calling this a "light" read. It was very funny at times-lots of subtle one liners-but the overarching message was actually very sad. This book fleshes out a convincing argument for nihilism in a short space, from an unexpected perspective. Definitely worth a look.
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Format: Hardcover
Truly amazing insights are revealed in this stunning first novel.
A funny-sad-quirky novel that lets all of us experience what it is
like to be older, as well as giving us a meaningful glimpse into
the soul of someone that we might not ordinarily take the time to study.
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Format: Paperback
This was a wonderful story of a women during her last day on earth. Thinking back on her past, and dealing with present day life. I was constantly wondering what this spunky little woman would do next. I absolutely LOVED it!
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By A Customer on February 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
While the story drags in some places, this is a sweet feel-good story that is both bizarre, amusing and yes, a little sad, all at the same time. Although it is not fantastically written, it is one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling books I've read in a long time. It teaches you a lot about life.
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