Talking about The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin with Chrissi

Published March 4, 2015 by bibliobeth


What’s it all about?:

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.

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI: The novel is all about family – discuss the relationships between family members and with Rabbit.
BETH: Rabbit appears to be at the core of the whole family unit and so when she is diagnosed with cancer and especially when the cancer comes back and she is told it is terminal, the family looks like it might fall apart. She is very close to both her father and mother – I especially loved Molly, a very strong, funny and independent Irish character who is trying not to let the rest of the family know that she is breaking inside and is attempting to be there for not only the rest of her family but for her dying daughter – a huge feat. Rabbit has also had periods during her life where she has been closer and more distant from her brother and sister, Davey and Grace but at the time of her illness, she finds the old closeness once again and the entire family becomes a force to be reckoned with.
BETH: Who was your favourite character in the novel and why?
CHRISSI: Ooh, Beth that’s a tricky question! There are so many characters in this story. I really enjoyed reading about many of them. I think one of my favourites has to be Davey though. His love for his niece was adorable. I loved that he was willing to change his lifestyle in order to care for his niece. Aw. ❤
CHRISSI: What do you make of the blog posts used throughout? Would you have liked to have seen more of them?
BETH: I was actually a bit surprised that more wasn’t made of the blog posts, there seemed to be very few of them. In them, Rabbit talks about the time when she was first diagnosed with cancer and the way she feels when the cancer returns. We do hear a little about her feelings at the present time when she is moved into the hospice but other chapters when written from her point of view focused mainly on the past and the love of her life, Johnny as she evaluates her life so far. I would have loved to see more blog posts but I think I understand why the author didn’t expand these – there was already so much going on in the novel and a number of different characters who all needed to be explored.
BETH: Juliet is with her mother until the end, and helps care for her when she is sick. What effect do you think being with a parent at such a harrowing time can have? Was it better for Juliet to be with Rabbit at the end?
CHRISSI: I really felt for Juliet. I think it must be so tough for children to go through caring for a sick relative. I imagine it’s hard enough for an adult, but when you think about young carers and the emotional turmoil they have to go through…it breaks my heart. At the same time though, I think for Juliet’s peace of mind she had to do everything she could for her mum and spend the time she did have with her.
CHRISSI: Talk about the ending of the novel – how did it make you feel?
BETH: From the beginning of the novel we know that Rabbit Hayes has terminal cancer in a number of different places in her body including her bones so the ending was never going to be a walk in the park. I was one hundred percent convinced I would leave the novel feeling incredibly depressed. What I was surprised about was how uplifted I also felt. The author uses humour very well to make the best job of a bad situation and I think it worked beautifully with this particular story. By the end, we don’t feel that Rabbit is leaving her family forever, she’s just going on a different journey and will see them at some point later on.
BETH: Molly puts her foot in it many times, but always makes Rabbit laugh. Is laughter the best medicine?
CHRISSI: I think it can be. Of course, it doesn’t always cure everything, but having a good laugh can make you feel better. I also think that this book needed some humour within it, otherwise it would have been incredibly depressing. It’s not an easy subject to tackle or read about, but Anna McPartlin cleverly weaved in the humour amongst the sadness.
CHRISSI: How does this book compare to others in its genre?
BETH: There are a lot of novels similar to this out in the world and I think it sits very comfortably in its own genre, even surpassing some. The author creates such wonderful characters in a family everyone would love to be a part of and I think the combination of such authentic people you can really believe in, humour and misery and a take-home message of love and support for your nearest and dearest makes this novel a joy to read and one I will remember for a while.
BETH: Would you read another book by this author?
CHRISSI: Yes. Much like you mention in the question above, I think the author has surpassed others in the genre. I found her writing incredibly easy to read.
Would WE recommend it?:
BETH: But of course!
CHRISSI: Of course!
BETH’s Star rating (out of 5):
CHRISSI’s Star rating (out of 5):

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