Publication date: 1 January 2015
Publisher: Black Swan
Length: 368 pages
Age group: Adult
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon UK | The Book Depository
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.
The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes was my last read of 2014 and I couldn’t have found a better book to end the year with. I laughed, I cried, and it completely broke my heart at times – but it’s one of the most beautiful stories I’ve read in a long time.
Anne McPartlin’s sixth novel tells the story of Rabbit, an Irish journalist and single mother to twelve-year-old Juliet, who is losing her fight against cancer. Through a series of flashback episodes we get to know Rabbit as a young girl and follow her journey throughout the years, from her early teens through adulthood. We get to know her family and friends, who have been with her every step of the way, and who are there in the hospice, holding her hand, when Rabbit’s journey comes to an end. We learn about her best friend, Marjorie, and her first – and only – love, Johnny Faye. We get a glimpse into the often chaotic, but always entertaining, days of the Hayes family and Rabbit’s relationship with her daughter.
I absolutely loved Rabbit’s mum – her wit, her determination and her ability to lift others’ spirits up even on the darkest days is one of the things I adored the most about the book. Juliet, Rabbit’s daughter, was another favourite of mine and I was so proud of the way she was dealing with her mother’s illness. It was heartbreaking to see how much she’s done for Rabbit throughout the years, despite the fact that she’s only 12.
Seeing how Rabbit’s health had deteriorated in her last nine days completely broke my heart – not just because of her, but because of Juliet as well. However, reading the flashbacks and seeing how she coped with everything in the past 4 years fills you with a tiny ray of hope and optimism. She’s been through so much with Rabbit and she’s such a strong little thing that you know she’ll get through this.
I’m only giving it 4 stars because, although I ended up loving the book, it took me a little while to get into it and get to like the characters. But once I did, I couldn’t put it down.
Poignant, yet funny and incredibly hopeful, The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes is an absolute must-read for everyone who enjoys contemporary fiction. It will make you laugh and cry, but I can guarantee you will fall in love with it.