2014 Book Reviews

The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin

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‘Here is a truth that can’t be escaped: for Mia ‘Rabbit’ Hayes, life is coming to an end…

Rabbit Hayes loves her life, ordinary as it is, and the extraordinary people in it.

She loves her spirited daughter, Juliet; her colourful, unruly family; the only man in her big heart, Johnny Faye.

But it turns out the world has other plans for Rabbit, and she’s OK with that. Because she has plans for the world too, and only a handful of days left to make them happen.

Here is a truth that won’t be forgotten: this is a story about laughing through life’s surprises and finding the joy in every moment.’

Huge thanks to Alice at Transworld for sending me a copy of The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes.

Firstly, I feel I should explain that I’m not a huge fan of cancer related books. I tend to wish the characters would hurry up and die and I find the books are always so drawn out and depressing. But with The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes something about it really drew me in and I was desperate to get started.

I’m so pleased that I did, because this has completely changed my mind about cancer related books. I would go as far as to say this is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It wasn’t depressing and miserable at all, yes ok it WAS heartbreaking but it was incredibly uplifting, beautiful and terrifically funny.

Rabbit Hayes is in a hospice and dying, she had a nasty fall and broke her leg and it was whilst she was being treated in hospital it was discovered her cancer was back. Only this time she wasn’t going to survive it and she didn’t have long left to live.

Only Rabbit and her family are refusing to come to terms with it being the end. Rabbit is determined to pull through and be there for her daughter, she won’t give in and die. Her mother and father are adamant they can find a cure also.

The only person who isn’t aware of what is going on is Rabbit’s daughter, Juliet. Rabbit wants to hide whats happening to her daughter because she is sure she will walk out of the hospice and live on. Only Rabbit soon has to come to terms with the fact she will never make it out of the hospice and Juliet must learn the heartbreaking news that she will no longer have a mum.

Rabbit’s family are a rowdy bunch but all pull together in Rabbit’s last days and each face the dreadful reality that they must soon somehow say goodbye. Her family consist of Molly, her mum, Jack her dad, Davey her brother, Grace her sister. Along with nephews and a brother in law from Grace.

Molly was easily my favourite. She was a “proper” mum. Molly adored her family, interfered in theirs lives and no-one crossed her. I loved her, her love for Rabbit really got to me, more than anyone else. Being a mum I could really imagine her struggle and her hope at any possibility, no matter how wacky, of trying to find ways to save her daughter.

Jack struggled from the very beginning and turned to Molly for strength throughout. Molly was expected to keep the family surviving and this endeared her to me more. Grace and Davey were brilliant within in the story both going out of their way to look after Juliet and protect her in anyway they can.

What sets this book apart from the rest is the fact it wasn’t based all in the present, it was also based on the past. We got to watch Rabbit grow up from a little girl to a woman. We got to watch her fall completely and utterly in love with her brothers best friend and fellow band member Johnny.

The entire book is punctuated with the most perfect humour that will have you laughing out loud as well as shedding a tear at some of the more heartbreaking moments.

Anna McPartlin writes beautifully and shows what true unconditional love really is. An entire family devoted to Rabbit and the love they have for her just pores from the pages and intoxicates you.

As the story continues it intensifies and you find yourself reading on with trepidation of what’s to come, knowing you are about to be left heartbroken but at the same time filled with love and all the happy memories you feel you have stolen from Rabbit and her family.

The emotions that Rabbit and her family go through really seem real and you feel as-though you are losing a friend. This was a truly stunning and uplifting read that will stay with me long after I say goodbye.

The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes is available on kindle now and available to pre-order on paperback. (paperback is released January 1st 2015).


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