The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes By Anna McPartlin

[amazon_link id=”0552773743″ target=”_blank” ]The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes[/amazon_link]’The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes’ is the latest book by Anna McPartlin.

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 met Anna McPartlin at a Penguin Ireland event a few years ago and I really warmed to her, I loved her sharp wit and her cynical view towards life. ‘The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes’ was the first book that I read by her and as I thought when I read the synopsis of the story, I was heartbroken and in bits at the end.

The story starts with Rabbit being left at the hospice with her mother, Molly. After years of battling cancer, the illness has taken over her body and the hospice is there to make her last remaining days as comfortable as possible. The story is seen through the narrative of all the characters, Rabbit, her parents Molly and Jack, her 12 year old daughter Juliet, Rabbit’s brother and sister, Grace and Davy and Rabbit’s childhood best friend Majorie. Together, they all have to deal with the Rabbit’s impending death and the void that the bubbly and outspoken woman will leave behind as well as who will take over the duty of becoming Juliet’s guardian.

Each chapter contains perspectives of the various characters as they struggled with the realisation that they are about to loose someone who means the world to them. Molly and Jack refuse to give up on the Rabbit and Molly believes through her faith, they will find a cure for her and neither Jack or Molly can live with the thought that they outlive their daughter. Davy and Grace, Rabbit’s older siblings and they are amongst the people, who want to take on Juliet, but the 12 year old is unaware of the extent of her mothers illness, she thinks that she can care for Rabbit just like she did with previous times. A lovely inclusion in the story is the character Johnny, who was Davy’s best friend and was Rabbit’s first love. From a young age, she idolised the young musician and with the chapter he is featured in, we see Rabbit develop and mature from a gawky little girl into a strong and dynamic young woman who is admired by many.

This book is a heartbreaking story that will tug at the hardest of hearts, just as the title says, the book is indeed about the last days of Rabbit Hayes and as I got closer to the end, I found myself slowing down so I could enjoy the wit of the Hayes family as well prolong the sheer heartbreak that would be Rabbit’s death. Anna has been described as the female equivalent of Roddy Doyle and I could almost certainly agree with this statement, as with very sad moment there is a sharp witty comment there to soften the blow. One scene in particular that is quite tender, is when Rabbit asks for the family and her friend Majorie to be present so that she can talk about her funeral, this is a heartbreaking scene, as everyone has to face up to the fact that Rabbit will die soon, but in this sad scene, Anna has included funny dialogue and wit, that through the tears of it, I found myself giggling along.

Beautifully written from the very start, this book is an emotional roller-coaster story, filled with touching and poignant moments and the welcome inclusion of humour to lighten the dark scenes. ‘The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes’ is a touching book about family love, treasuring each moment and I won’t forget it for a long time, I laughed, I cried and I fell in love with this book.

You can buy [amazon_link id=”0552773743″ target=”_blank” ]The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes from Amazon[/amazon_link] and is available to buy from good bookshops.

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