Summary and book reviews of The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes

by Anna McPartlin

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin X
The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2015, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2016, 384 pages

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Book Summary

Here is a truth that can't be escaped: for Mia "Rabbit" Hayes, life is coming to an end ...

Mia-"Rabbit"-Hayes knows that life is hard for everyone. And she knows that she's one of the lucky ones. She loves her life, ordinary as it is. And she loves the extraordinary people in it: her spirited daughter, Juliet; her colorful, unruly family; the only man in her big heart, Johnny Faye. Rabbit has big ideas, full of music and love and so much life. She has plans for the world. But the world, it turns out, has other plans for Rabbit: a devastating diagnosis.

Rabbit is feisty. And with every ounce of love and strength in her, she promises that she will overcome. She will fight fight fight. She will be with those who love her for as long as she can, and she will live as long as she can with music and love and so much life. And as her friends and family rally round to celebrate Rabbit's last days, they look to her for strength, support, and her unyielding zest for life. Because she is Rabbit Hayes and she will live until she dies.

Chapter One
Rabbit

Outside, pop music played, a child squealed with delight and a bearded man holding a 'Walk with Jesus' placard danced a jig. The leather seat felt warm against Rabbit's skin. The car rolled forward, forming part of a slow and steady stream of traffic snaking through the city. It's a nice day, Rabbit thought, then slipped into a doze.

Molly, Rabbit's mother, looked from the road to her daughter, taking one hand off the steering-wheel to adjust the blanket covering the thin, frail body. Then she stroked the closely shaved head.

'It's going to be OK, Rabbit,' she whispered. 'Ma's going to fix it.' It was a bright April day and forty-year-old Mia 'Rabbit' Hayes, beloved daughter of Molly and Jack, sister of Grace and Davey, mother of twelve-year-old Juliet, best friend to Marjorie Shaw and the one true love of Johnny Faye's life, was on her way to a hospice to die.

When she'd reached their ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. In The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes the story is broken up by spotlighting specific characters in each section. How did this format affect your reading experience? Do you feel there's a unique voice for each character?
  2. How did your feelings about the Hayes family change throughout the novel? Were there specific characters that you grew to appreciate? Were there certain characters that disappointed you?
  3. The author often uses humor amidst a difficult and serious situation. Did the use of humor affect how you experienced the story?
  4. While each member of this family is extremely different, did you notice any unifying qualities that they share? If so, what are they?
  5. Molly and Jack, both stubborn, are dealing with the death of ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

What I love the very best about this book is the author's strong affirmation for both life and death, and the indelible link between the two.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).

Full Review (570 words).

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Media Reviews

Richard, The Richard & Judy Book Club, UK
This is a touching, brave, funny novel about a family facing an imminent death. Anyone who has lost someone close will identify with it and remember how the heartbreak is so often shot through with the blessing of humour - sometimes black, but also genuinely tender, loving and uplifting.

Judy, The Richard & Judy Book Club, UK
OK, this sounds bleak - but it truly isn't. Molly, the archetypal Irish Catholic matriarch, is a source not just of strength but of great humour. Rabbit herself is tough and without self-pity. There are many happy and hilarious moments in this novel. Yes, you'll need a hanky - but you will also laugh and smile at this poignant, life-affirming story.

Publishers Weekly
The novel is kept light with a measure of dry humor and many beautiful instances of love, leaving a lighter impression than one might expect. This novel will be torn from the shelves by fans of tearjerkers such as P.S. I Love You.

Kirkus Reviews
By turns laugh-out-loud funny and weep-into-your-hanky heartbreaking, Rabbit's story is a powerful catharsis.

Author Blurb Jane Green
What a beautiful book. I started crying on page one, crying and smiling my way through to the end. I found it to be searingly, sweetly painful.

Reader Reviews

Marcia

compelling
Rabbit Hayes remembers her life with happiness. Loved the British music scene this book describes. Hard to put down book.

Sue C

Excellent Story!
The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes is so gut wrenching but so funny! And sometimes the author will reach into your emotions so deeply but....at the same time....find your funny bone that you are laughing and crying at the same time!!! A absolutely ...   Read More

Rita K. (Bannockburn, IL)

A great story surrounding the end of a wonderful life
I've never read a book by Anna McPartlin before and wasn't sure what to expect. The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes was wonderfully written. The way Anna combined the past and present helped me to understand the love and pain her family and friends were ...   Read More

Dawn Z. (Canton, MI)

A very realistic and poignant story
I recently witnessed my father's illness and decline, and his (and my entire family's) experience with hospice. The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes was a very realistic and beautiful story about the end of a life, and how life goes on for the family. I ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Uplifting Books

It is difficult to write an uplifting book about death and dying but it seems that Anna McPartlin has succeeded in doing so.

We featured a dozen uplifting books about a variety of topics in a recent blog post and invite you to add them to your reading list and share recommendations of your own.

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