The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes Anna McPartlin Book Review BecBec
 
 
”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 deets:
Author: Anna McPartlin
Pages: 436
Publish Date: 2014
Publisher: Blackswan
Genre: Fiction
Awww I loved this book, this story is about Rabbit, she is in a hospice dying of cancer and she is aware that she hasn’t got long to live. In Rabbit’s sleep, she goes back to her youth where she was in love with Johnny Faye who was in a band with her brother. The chapters alternate between the growing love story between her and Johnny to how her family is dealing with Rabbit dying. In particular the relationship between Rabbit’s mother, Molly and her brother Davey, over the guardianship of Juliet her daughter. The story itself was very well written, it felt to me that each chapter had its place and added to either the love story or the practicalities and emotions of having a close one pass away. On a side note, I loved the fact it was set in Ireland, as I have visited Ireland before and loved the place (and want to go back).


Image of It's your time you are wasting
Frank Chalk is a teacher in a fairly poor inner city school- a school where the kids get drunk, take drugs and beat up the teachers… when they can be bothered to turn up.
He confiscates their porn, booze and trainers, fends off angry parents and worries about the few conscientious pupils.
 
Terrifying and hilarious, IT’S YOUR TIME YOU’RE WASTING is Chalk’s real- life diary from the front line of the modern edukashun system.

I have had this book a number of years and it is one of the few books I have read over and over again. I bought it at a time when I really wanted to be a teacher (before I saw sense). It’s Your Time You’re wasting was published by a small book publisher Monday Books, known for publishing real life books. The book narrated by Frank Chalk (not his real name, probably to save his sanity) goes through the tale of his time as a supply teacher at St Jude’s which is based in the Cherry Tree Estate. He tells us tales of sloppy staff and even sloppier school children all of this which is punctuated with descriptions of the Cherry Street estate so you get to understand why the children behave like they do.

The story is easy to read as it is in a chatty style, there isn’t any chapters as such, there is just one tale after another all following each other (I have noticed this is the style of writing in other books Monday has published). The author doesn’t feel sorry for himself either, you just let the story wash over you as you find yourself laughing and sinking into despair at the naughty children and feeling really sorry for those poor children who are just trying to get on with life.The book hit a chord with me because you can see through Frank’s eyes how the education system has failed the children. This is through two ways. One the lack of support at home. Frank visits a few children homes to tutor them and he see’s the effect of constant TV, fast food, the lack of books and interest from the parents resulting in the children being disengaged with anything that is longer than two minutes. The result of this being children who vandalise school property, not being able to understand school work and being downright nasty to anyone.

You could argue that his book reinforces stereotypes, through the names of the children and the description of the council estate. But this is the reality of modern Britain as it is repeated through books like this one and on programmes on the TV such as Tough Young Teachers. So disillusioned is Frank with the school that he tells parent’s of a child to move to a better school. However, I feel that the author is realistic and what comes across well is Frank wants to teach but with the children not accepting responsibility, there doesn’t seem the point.

To conclude, this book is well worth a read if you want to while away an afternoon or want some escape. If you truly hate your job this book may also be of use, as by the end of reading you may think your job isn’t too bad 😉

 

The ones I have read however have been a real mixture of good and bad. As you will see below:

Wild- Cheryl Strayed

Wild tells the story of Cheryl Strayed a woman who after her mother died from cancer decided to trek the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) to help find herself. Cheryl had no prior hiking experience and the PCT trail is one of the hardest in America.
Therefore for Cheryl to get through the trail meant that anything is possible.  Her story was raw and didn’t hold back. The descriptions of the wildlife she walked through made me want to go and experience the PCT for myself and by understanding her life story you can see why she made the mistakes she did.

Since I Don’t Have You – Louise Candlish

Possibly the worst book I have read in a while. This book was so bad I have had to refer back to it to remember the main character’s name!  Rachel makes a pact with two of her best friends Jenny and Marial that each other would look after children if anything happened to each other. Fast forward a few years the children are six and at school. One day Rachel’s child goes on a school trip and dies in a minibus crash.
Therefore to escape Rachel decides to fly to Santorina (she has always been interested in Santorina because her mother was born there). To keep her pact she decides to hire a private investigator (creepy I know!) to check up on her friends and their children. The book was just boring I wasn’t interested in the descriptions of Greece, I found the whole private investigator thing really didn’t work and the way it was written, it was a drag to get through. I didn’t even finish the book. One for the Donation box!

The Children’s Act- Ian McEwan

This book follows a QC who has to make a difficult decision regarding a religious woman and son’s young life. The book was better then I thought it would be. Written in Ian McEwan’s signature style where you pretty much have to concentrate through the entire book ( it’s not a light read!) it delivers a book that is a mixture of religion, love and morals.

Tales From The Ringroad- BBC

Ok it’s not a book it is a radio series on BBC Radio 4. Essentially a different ringroad in the country is chosen each week and several people tell their story which has a connection with the ringroad.One episode was about the ringroad in Coventry. A man who was driving on the road one night got hit by a car who was driving in the opposite direction. Another story based in Wolverhampton was about a man who lived on the ringroad in a tent. It’s one to listen when you are on the commute home.  It does sound a bit out there (stay with me on this!) but it isn’t that bad and is quite interesting. If all else fails the soothing voice will put you to sleep.

 

(Source: Authors Own)

I bloody love books and since I travel on the train I am always reading. Here is what I have been enjoying this month.

Leaves On The Line- Martin and Simon Toseland

A Laugh- Out- Loud read. This book goes through everyday English phrases and gives a real life interpretation of what they mean. Perfect if you want a book you can pick up at any point.

Marks and Spencer Home Spring 2015 Edition Magazine

This free magazine I grabbed whilst waiting to pick up a package has the most beautiful pictures of their homeware inside. If I wasn’t living in rented accommodation I would definitely have a list of items that I want.

The Opposite Of Loneliness- Marina Keegan

As mentioned in my reading list, this book by the late Marina Keegan demonstrates her literary talent. As the book is a selection of essays and short stories it has again a book you can dip in and out of. Recommendations of stories to read include The Emerald City, Challenger Deep, Even Artichokes Have Doubts, Against The Grain and finally, of course, The Opposite Of Loneliness.

Love Is Not Enough- Merryn Somerset Webb

Although I am not awful with my money I could do better. Love Is Not Enough is essentially a dummies guide on how to improve your finances specifically for women. The book is split into sections that you are likely to encounter in your life such as children, marriage, divorce, investments, pensions etc. What I liked about this book, in particular, is the candid writing style Merryn adopts. It is not stuffy, it is spoken to women who need help understanding the basics.

Strong Woman

Karren Brady is a woman I admire, from Managing Director of Birmingham City FC from the age of 23, she is a true woman made of grit. I have watched all of The Apprentices with her in it and enjoy reading her Cosmopolitan column. I have had this book a couple of years now and is definitely not a new book out. However, I picked it up as from time to time you always need an inspirational story and this is it. Karen talks about what drives her to success (mainly motivation and sheer hard work) and how she has found managing it all with children, TV work and other interests.

#GIRLBOSS

One that isn’t featured in my photograph above because I forgot to add it in! #GIRLBOSS similar to Strong Woman in that it details how Sophia Amoruso built her Nasty Gal busy up from a tiny eBay shop to the empire it is today. This book shows how hard work and determination really pays off and is so easy to read. I read it in two days.

 

I love reading and there is nothing more I enjoy doing than sitting down with a good book as the day goes by. If you are thinking about reading more this year or looking for something new to read take a look at the books I have read in the past year below:
Looking For Alaska- John Green
The Understudy- David Nicholls
Starter For Ten- David Nicholls
The Last Telegram- Liz Trenow
Gone Girl- Gillian Flynn
Limestreet Blues- Maureen Lee
The Opposite of Loneliness Essays and Stories- Marina Keegan
Likeable Social Media- David Kerpen
Happier At Home- Gretchen Rubin
The Happiness Project- Gretchen Rubin
Student- David Belbin
Love Lessons- David Belbin
Until The End Of Time- Danielle Steel
Lone Eagle- Danielle Steel
Fine Things- Danielle Steel
Pictures Of You- Jane Elmor
Molly’s War- Maggie Hope
Sh*t My Dad Says- Justin Halpern
When Science Goes Wrong- Simon Levay
Birdsong- Sebastian Faulks
A Week In December- Sebastian Faulks
Atonement- Ian McEwan
The Midwife’s Confession- Diane Chamberlain
It’s Your Time You’re Wasting- Frank Chalk
Firefly Lane- Kristin Hannah
Fly Away- Kristin Hannah
Perfect Match- Jodi Picoult
The Storyteller- Jodi Picoult

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