What to say about this book? Well, you might want a box of hankies nearby as you read for a start! As the story begins Rabbit Hayes is being driven to a hospice by her mother and we follow her last nine days of life there. It is an incredibly emotional book: not only are you feeling for the characters but I think it’s a book where you can’t help but think about your own experiences, either in losing a relative or friend or imagining how it would feel if you were in the characters’ shoes.
For a book about a young woman dying there is a surprising amount of humour and laugh out loud moments. Rabbit and her large Irish family are dealing with her impending demise with equal amounts of fear, disbelief, anger and black humour. It is told mostly in the present with what’s happening with Rabbit at the hospice but the reader also gets to see how her family and friends are coping outwith the hospice situation. We also get to know the younger Rabbit and her great love for Johnny Fey, lead singer of the band her big brother Davey was a member of. Through these glimpses of Rabbit at different ages you come to realise just what a strong person she is and how difficult it must be for her now that she can no longer be strong. My heart just went out to her 12 year old daughter Juliet who knows deep down that her mother is dying but just doesn’t want to accept it. It was almost unbearable reading about the physical pain Rabbit endures but also the emotional pain of those who love her.
This book is heartbreaking, heart warming, heart rending, warmhearted – did I mention it was full of heartfelt emotions?? You will definitely have at least a lump in your throat if not tears in your eyes reading this book but you will also smile – a lot. A lovely book and one that will stay with me for some time.
The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes was published as an ebook by Transworld Digital on 19th June 2014 and by Black Swan in paperback on 1st January 2015. You can order a copy here: The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes
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.