The weekend before last I was once again caught up in the tangle that is weekend rail works. This time no rail replacement bus service but a diversion and a change at Preston. Sat in piccadilly train station I was reminded of all the time I use to spend there waiting for trains home and to wherever else I was going. It turns out Starbucks there is open 24 hours. And I had an hour until my next train, so naturally I found myself new book in hand and latte in another.
I’d picked up The last days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin on a whim from Smiths, it was buy one get one half price and the cover and title reminded me of one of my favourite books When God was a Rabbit. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but this time I’m glad I did. Within the first few pages I was hooked, and I nearly missed my train. Within the first few chapters I was laughing, crying and making my fellow passengers very uncomfortable.
Maybe it is because this was the first paper back I had bought in a while, or maybe it wouldn’t have mattered which format the words presented themselves in, because the story was just that good, either way, I couldn’t put it down. Not only on my train journey home, but all of Sunday too.
My favourite spot to sit in my flat, is on my sofa, underneath the window, sat sideways with my legs stretching out, and my eyes occasionally wandering out across the window pane. Curled up with a blanket and endless cups of tea I spent the whole day reading and it was bliss.
I won’t lie to you, The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes, is a real weeper. As you can guess from the title, in a nutshell, it’s about a woman’s last living days. Or rather that is what the book centres around. What it is really about is family dynamics and that is what made this book so irressistable for me. The Hayes have some beautiful memories together, and they have some pretty sad ones too, now the youngest daughter is saying goodbye to their world, and leaving behind her own child. Every character is so full of personality, even those only playing a supporting role, that everything you’re reading feels so terribly real. From the mother who refuses to give up and always says the wrong thing usually followed by a curse word, to the nephew who knew that what is dying aunt really needed to hear about was his latest dalliances with the opposite sex.
It’s all told with an understated drama, what makes this book so sad and funny, and uplifting, isn’t because the story you’re reading seems like such a one off in it’s tragedy, but because you know this story is probably playing itself out right now in hospices up and down the country.
I know, on the surface, this sounds like a depressing book, but it isn’t. It’s robust. It shows you that life can be cut short but that people can and will get on with it, and it’s al done with a distinctively Irish charm.
I’d definitely recommend missing your train for it, and cancelling all your weekend plans too.
Live life & spend a day in your reading spot x