My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 4 days
Publisher - Black Swan
Pages - 436
Blurb from Goodreads
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.
The first line of this book is "Today I was diagnosed with breast cancer." The book is about Mia "Rabbit" Hayes, she is dying and these are her last few days. Sounds depressing as, it isn't. Don't get me wrong, there are parts of this book that will make you outright cry, but there is so much happiness, joy, family strength, love and happiness - the saddness is a small part. The book starts off with a blog entry talking about Rabbit being diagnosed and her inital attitude to it. Then chapter one has jumped ahead to Rabbit being taken to a hospice for her final journey. We are introduced to Molly, Rabbits mother, who has a mouth like a sailor, often puts her foot in it and unintentionally brings humour to the table. We flip back and forth between present day and how the family are coming to terms with and coping with Rabbits final days. We are also transported back to episodes in Rabbits life that will endear you to the family and that really brings the characters to life.
I had never heard of this author, or indeed this book, until one of my friends reviewed it, she kindly sent me her copy. I could have devoured this in one sitting, had life permitted, as it was I had to squeeze in the moments I could, on the bus to and from home, in the bath, a wee half hour after I should have gone to sleep! Rabbit is quite a character, from a strong Irish catholic background, Rabbit does not believe in God, much to her mothers annoyance. She is very set in her ways, a larger than life character but not in an over the top way. She is a character I feel many people could either relate to or warm to. We are introduced to her family and how they are dealing with the situation but also stories to show us the kind of people they are and how they behave and react the way their do. Her daughter Juliet, is only twelve years old so reading her part of the tale is quite something and seeing all of the family trying to decide what should happen to Juliet as well as trying to honour Rabbits wishes.
This is such an emotive subject, however I think the author has done an amazing job of conjuring up what it is like to say goodbye to and be with someone throughout their last days. You are drawn into the story, the feelings, the emotions the family are dealing with and laugh and cry along with them. 5/5 for me for this one and I will be tracking the authors other work down, I can't recommend this one enough.