Review: The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin

Thursday 8 January 2015
Title: The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes
Author: Anna McPartlin
Publisher: Black Swan
Publication Date: 1st January 2015
Pages: 448
Source: NetGalley Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
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.

I don't even know where to start with this book. My thoughts are all over the place. To say it was an emotional read would be an understatement, and it definitely brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion which I'm not ashamed to admit. Mia 'Rabbit' Hayes is about to move into a hospice as she is dying of cancer, this isn't a book where some miracle cure will be found right at the end, with the characters all living happily ever after, Rabbit will and does die in this book. Sounds quite morbid, right? Well it isn't at all. It's a book I would encourage everybody to read.

Something about the way this book was written made it feel all too real for me. There's a story behind Anna's decision to write this book, and it has been obviously well researched which has helped to create a very realistic, believable and authentic portrayal of somebody living out their final days and there's a real sense of realism surrounding the family members as well. There's a number of characters, all of whom have their role to play in the book and I found myself imagining various members of my own family in a situation like this. Reading about Rabbit's family members having to come to terms with her dying broke my heart, in particular her 12-year-old daughter Juliet. It's incomprehensible to imagine losing your mother at all, never mind when you are so young, and to a nasty, horrible disease and the story just felt so real that it really upset me in places.

It's important to say though that it's not all doom and gloom, there's humour interspersed throughout and flashbacks to Rabbit's early life, showing us how she met the love of her life Johnny Faye and how she was such a high spirited, happy woman looking forward to life. I felt at times though that some of the humour felt a bit forced. What I took from this book though is not to take life for granted, which I do. To stop moaning about silly, insignificant things, which we all do. The book shows that life is incredibly short, and it can be snatched away when you least expect it. It reminded me of this quote about life. The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes will make you really value and appreciate your loved ones.

As I neared the end of this book I thought it would break my heart even more, but it was a rather perfect ending and one that suited the story I had just read. I'm not of the belief that when we die, we go and live in the clouds and watch over our loved ones but I would like to think that before we go, we can be reunited with lost loved ones, however briefly. I don't really know what else to say except read this book. It's a strange one, heartbreaking one minute but life affirming and uplifting the next. I can certainly see why so many people are rating this book so highly. Anna says in this interview with Sharon (Shaz's Book Blog) that 'it's a seize the day book' and it really is. A beautiful book that you should't miss if you can help it.

But don't just take my word for it, some of my fellow bloggers loved The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes: Becca (Becca's Books) and Jill (Jill Loves To Read). 


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