The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin

I am a Hayes woman, and I am promising, with every ounce of love and strength in me, that I will overcome. 

Title - The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes
Author - Anna McPartlin
Publication Date - 1st January 2015
Publisher - Transworld
Format - eBook (Provided via NetGalley)

The blurb

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 joy in every moment.

Becca's thoughts

Firstly, I'd like to say thank you to Transworld for providing me with a digital copy of The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin in exchange for a fair and honest review. I'd also like to say thank you to Anna McPartlin for this piece of magnificence, because quite simply, it was breathtaking, and I'll probably never read another book like it again. 

In The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin, we're introduced to Mia 'Rabbit' Hayes. The first thing that struck me whilst reading was Anna's intricate structure. Not only are we in the present day with Rabbit as she moves into a hospice to live out her last days surrounded by her family, but each time Rabbit drifts in and out of sleep, Anna takes us back in time in the form of Rabbit's dreams, and we're introduced to the boys from Kitchen Sink, a band from the old days, that consisted of Rabbit's brother Davey, and the one true love of her life, Johnny Faye, along with a couple of other lads. Not only are we shown the present day and the past, but we're also invited to read Rabbit's blog. It was effortlessly easy to keep up with the swapping and changing of the tenses, and I loved it. We were given insight into absolutely everything that had gone before Rabbit moving to the hospice, and I felt like I was another member of the Hayes' family almost immediately. 

The narrative in The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes was incredible, too. Anna doesn't just provide us with one or two different narratives, we're taken from character to character; Molly (Rabbit's mum), Jack (Rabbit's Dad), Grace (Rabbit's sister), Davey (Rabbit's brother), Juliet (Rabbit's daughter), Marjorie (Rabbit's best-friend), and even Rabbit's nephews and brother-in-law. It had such a profound effect on me, and it will have the same effect on you, too. It allowed me to take into consideration how each and every member of the family were taking Rabbit's situation, how they grieved in their own unique ways, how they handled the other parts of their lives, too. Anna's characters were developed exceptionally well, and I was given a glimpse into each of their lives and their own memories with Rabbit, before things took a devastating turn. There were moments whilst reading where I really wanted to close the book and progress no further. Cancer is scary. It's absolutely terrifying, and Anna portrayed this so extremely well in her writing that I couldn't cope with the realness. When Rabbit's pain became too much and crashed through her medication, I hurt for her so much and cried for her, too. No human being should ever have to go through that, but sadly they do, each and every single day. Anna opened my eyes to the truth, to what it would be like to lie in that bed, drift in and out of reality, flit between sweet memories and the bitter present, and I prayed again and again that somehow things would take a miraculous turn and she'd be better. Going back to the past when Rabbit closed her eyes was something that I repeatedly looked forward to whilst reading, because I knew that when Rabbit was with the band, and Johnny Faye, she was truly happy. What astounded me most was that, even when I was reading from Rabbit's viewpoint, there were only a handful of moments where she was sad. Of course she cried, and was desperate to know that her daughter Juliet would be given the best life possible, but throughout the majority of the story, Rabbit's spirits were high, and it became apparent that she wasn't scared of dying, she was sad because she was leaving behind her family. Of course, this then made me think of my own family, and leaving them behind, and I turned into a blubbering, horrific mess, because it's unthinkable, but it happens, and I experienced one of those moments where I swore to myself, lying in the dark sometime after midnight, that I will never take anything for granted. We're all guilty of it. Of it going through patches of life where we don't really pay attention to those around us, we're too busy thinking about work and the day-to-day stresses, but in the end, it's your loved ones who matter. God, this book drew so many damn emotions out of me that I wanted my brothers and sisters and Mum around me right there and then, to squeeze and hold tight and never let go of them, because life can change in an instant. 

The plot of The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes was just incredible. Not only was it separated into chapters, but days, too, which reminded me of a countdown until Rabbit found peace. It was terrifyingly beautiful, and with each chapter I finished, I caught myself holding my breath for a moment or two before continuing. As I began to near the end, I knew that I had to finish Rabbit's story before I fell asleep. I had no choice. I was utterly compelled to do so. I fell to sleep on a damp pillow, because not only did Rabbit's story break my heart, but it put it back together too, because in the end, she was where she belonged, with her one true love. And it was absolutely, completely, without a doubt, the most stunning, moving ending that I have ever read before. 

Rabbit's story made me realise that we are not invincible. Things will never go the way we want them to, and even though Rabbit knew that her time on earth was coming to an end, she still laughed and joked and smiled, and I wanted to be her. To be so brave and at peace with her circumstances, and just wow. It left me breathless and messy and teary, and with a new found determination to not waste a single day of my life. I'm choking up just thinking about it. 

Becca's Books is giving The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin five gorgeous cupcakes. A life-changer, a thought-provoker, and a damn beautiful book that every book lover needs on their bookshelf. I honestly cannot recommend it enough. The last thing that I'll say is that you'll definitely need a box of tissues and someone you love close to you. If it hadn't have been after midnight, I would have called up my mum and told her that I love her. 


  1. This sounds like my kind of book. I just looked it up and I have to wait until July for it to be released in the US :(

  2. I've heard so many amazing things about this book lately, and now after reading your review I really must get my hands on a copy! Thank you for sharing Becca, hope you're having a lovely week :) xx