After the End – Clare Mackintosh

5/5 Stars
Reviewed by: Christy (Contributor)
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Published by: Sphere
Pages: 384

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“But when you stand at a crossroad you cannot see each destination, only the beginnings of the paths that will lead you there. All you can do is choose one, and walk, and hope that someone will walk with you.”

Clare Mackintosh’s latest novel brings readers a profoundly touching story about the relationship of two parents and their impossible choice: continue treatment for their two-year-old son, Dylan, or take him off life support – a decision they may not be able to agree on. After the End shows readers the outcome of both decisions and the “what ifs” that haunt Pip and Max for the rest of their lives.

Mackintosh explores the complexities of parenthood, the effect that having a sick child has on a marriage, and the transformative power of love with a thought provoking plot that demonstrates how our lives are defined by the choices we make. 

This book was unbearably emotional, so much so that after the first couple of chapters I questioned whether I would be able to finish it or if I should just walk away. Mackintosh’s inventive writing had me sincerely invested in every character, so after a few deep breaths I would return to her words, eager to know how their story ends.

After the End is both devastating and inspiring, a story brimming with unimaginable circumstances, incomprehensible loss, blossoming hope, love, and the process of finding joy in a life you didn’t plan on living. I can’t stop thinking about it.

If you are someone who loves a silver lining, look for this one next time you find yourself in a bookstore. I recommend you read this one under the sun with a friend who has also read it in arms reach, so you’ll have someone to debrief with once you’ve finished. You’ll need to.

“You cannot feel grief without first feeling love, and now my heart is filled with both.”

Reviewed by: Christy (Contributor)

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After The End