Saturday 3 January 2015

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes 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.

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes was published on 1 January 2015 in paperback by Transworld and is Anna McPartlin's sixth book.

It's almost seven years ago since I read Pack Up The Moon by Anna McPartlin which is her debut novel, but I do remember that I really enjoyed it. I have no idea why I've not read her later books, no idea at all, but I've just checked my (overflowing) bookshelves and found that I have two of her novels on my to-be-read pile. That thrills me because I have been totally engrossed in The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes for the past couple of days, and really really want to catch up on her other novels that I have sadly neglected.

So, where to begin?  The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes deals with a very difficult subject; a subject that will have touched most of us during our lives at some stage. As a woman who is fast approaching the big FIVE OH, breast cancer is something that terrifies me, and to be honest, at first, I thought that I was going to really struggle with this book.

I laughed so hard, I laughed out loud. Yes, laughed. Anna McPartlin has a way with words, a way of describing her characters, and a fine touch for dialogue that despite the seriousness of the subject matter adds another layer to her story. She has created the most wonderful Irish family that I've ever had the pleasure of reading about. My Mother's family are Irish, I've spent a lot of time with them, and I can honestly say that the Hayes family are truly authentic ... and sweary, and rude and oh so funny.

Rabbit Hayes has cancer. She had breast cancer, it went away, it came back and it spread. It wasn't until she fell and broke her leg that anyone realised just how far it had spread. The end is near and Rabbit will spend those last days in a hospice. She will be cared for, and the pain will be monitored and she will be surrounded by her family and closest friends.

Whilst Rabbit is in the hospice she dreams of Johnny Fay, the guy who let her go all those years ago. The reader is treated to different voices throughout the novel, the story is told by Rabbit, her daughter Juliet, her mother Molly, her father Jack, her brother Davey, her sister Grace, her best friend Marjorie, and by Johnny. Each character's voice is perfectly created, individual with their own personality, their own feelings and each one brings so much more to the story.

This really is a beautiful book. At times it is bleak, but it is incredibly moving and funny, there are times when your heart will feel like it is breaking, you will read the final page and feel as though you've been punched, hard, right in the face. You will also recognise the kindness of humanity, the importance of family, and the benefit of laughter.

Anna McPartlin is a novelist and scriptwriter. Her previous incarnation as a stand-up comedian left an indelible mark. She describes herself as a slave to the joke and finds humour and humanity in even the darkest situations. Anna lives in Wicklow with her husband and animals.

Find out more about the author and her novels at her website
Follow her on Twitter @annamcpartlin

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  1. Lovely review Anne, another that's on my wishlist

  2. Thanks Anne - def going to look out for this one!

  3. Reading this just now Anne, wonderful review. I am loving it so far!

    Lainy http:///