Book Review: The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin

Imagine This: Life has been so good to you. With a lovely family, mother to your amazing precocious daughter and indulging in the heart-swelling romance of your life with the man who you never quite let go. Except the cancer is back, spread all through your body now, threatening to take away all the people you’ve loved your entire life.

But you would overcome! You know you would. You beat it the first time so, stage IV cancer can go screw with someone else who isn’t that strong enough!

Except when you are really determined to fight, a hospice isn’t the ideal not-giving-up solution, your dad thinks. He’s troubled, worried your mum, a born-fighter has given up on you. Worried he cannot do anything to take you out of this death prison.

Your daughter is quite unaware of this dire turning state of your health. Your sister relieves her tension by throwing mugs at her husband and making her children go on a diet. Your brother is contemplating on the what-happens-to-your-daughter-when-you-are-dead even though he’s scared to give much thought to this. Your closest friend has taken up shopping more frequently than ever. Everyone has a way of dealing with their pain towards your impending doom.

And you, through all the breakthrough pain, the bloating body parts, and the funny nurses who think they’d be better appreciated if they auditioned for the X-Factor, the only way to deal with this predicament is to sleep. Sleep and dream of the one very love in your big, dissipating heart.

You are not giving up yet, cancer!

OMG! Stop whatever you are doing and go get this book the moment you are done reading this line! (I’m not continuing if you don’t…).

The storyline isn’t fresh. Dying girl in her forties, battling cancer. Haven’t we heard of this so many times? Yawn. But no one said anything about the dying girl having the craziest family who are willing to stay by her side through thick and thin, no one said anything about the nurses who fancy themselves as Ireland’s biggest talents and actresses in a CBS-styled drama, no one said anything about a dreamy boy with the voice of [INSERT NAME OF KING OF ROCK AND ROLL AS MY VIEWS MAY CONFLICT WITH YOURS] who brought so much joy to Dying Girl’s life, no one also said anything about Dying Girl’s addiction to the principles of atheism. Lovely. A star to the storyline.── ★

You would adore Rabbit Hayes! OMG! Even strapped to a hospice bed, she could still gain your attention than heroines with all their boobs intact running around aimlessly (—this bring any heroine to mind?). You would love the way she tries to put humour in every situation, how she’d want to laugh her heart out at times despite dealing with bloated body parts (—but could you blame her when it’s hard to locate your ribs?), how she sometimes cusses at her doctors when she’s dealing with heart-wrenching pain. As if all the above is not enough, you would admire her life as a teen—when the only thing she could think about was her big, rock and roll sweetheart; her funny cancer column about when she was first diagnosed with mild breast cancer. Brilliant.── ★★

The presentation of this work is also one of its stunning features. The switch between the present and the past, the use of lots of flashbacks to provide engaging backstory throughout the whole novel. The story is told in third-person perspective of all the major characters in this title. And every character’s narration is distinct to their personalities as well as enjoyable. A star.── ★★★

The supporting cast… breathtaking! You would love Molly Hayes, the matriarch of the Hayes family who tries to hold it together even though she could do with learning to say the right things at the right time and not threatening to murder, kill or drown her family right at the presence of her dying daughter. You would love Jack Hayes, the father who relies so much on the strength of his wife he wouldn’t take an initiative if she doesn’t(——you know his type?) You would also love Davey Hayes, the superstar drummer who still lives in a tour bus despite approaching mid-forties. You would love Juliet, the charming daughter. You would love Grace Hayes, the sister who finds hospices more appealing than hospitals. The nurses, the priest, the band members of Kitchen Sink… Christ, I really do realize I could go on and on! Every single character delivered and there was no moment you would doubt the relevance of a character. Anna McPartlin demonstrates, in finding joy through life’s treacherous moments, you need a whole bunch of friends, family and health workers to help! A star to all the characters. Most of all, to Rabbit Haye’s one truest love, Johnny Faye.── ★★★★

It’s the thing with all cancer books——Oh, no, wait! The good, good cancer books. Too much suspense and sitting at the edge of your seat to find out what would happen to the main character in the end. Oh, and as if all that isn’t enough Anna McPartlin gives you so, so, so much to laugh at. Hell, you’d think a cancer book should be all about MRI scans, mastectomy, diagnoses after diagnoses! Throw that notion away when entering into Rabbit Hayes’ world!── ★★★★★

Something about Irish Chick-lit. The writing is raw. The plot is brilliant. The story is beautiful. Just as Anna McPartlin’s amazing debut!

My rating is definitely a six out of five stars—I’m not dumb, I know this is very possible in math, albeit in rare cases. (6/5stars)

Go buy the hell out of this book on amazon. And if you have any cancer relatives, friends, or even acquaintances—no offense, but you most probably do, go get this book for them all. Because, this is a story about laughing through life’s surprises and finding joy in every [treacherous] moment.

I recommend this book to anyone! Anyone battling cancer or not! Anyone looking for an uplifting book or not! Anyone looking for something to laugh their hearts out to or not! Anyone who wants something to render them all weepy because they have no use for their Kleenex or not! Anyone who wants a fantabuloustastic(——OMG! Did you hear that??) debut author to watch or not!

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.

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