After the End by Clare Mackintosh

Brenda’s review

It took me a while to find the courage to read After The End. When I did, I read it when the house was quiet and it was mostly just me at home so I could be left alone with my thoughts for this one. Once I started, I read it in less than 24 hours and it was all I thought about for a while. Then, it took me a while to find the courage to write this review and then longer to find the words to write.

After The End is a heartbreaking, painful issue-driven story that explores an unthinkable, impossible and unimaginable decision with no right answers, our main characters here parents Pip and Max are left to make after their son Dylan is diagnosed with a brain tumour.

There is nothing more painful than seeing your child not well, nothing more terrifying then the fear of losing them and knowing you have to comes to terms with you might lose them or the unimaginable losing them. You can lose who you are in all that pain. Clare Mackintosh compassionately explores all of this in this unforgettable, emotionally powered story that deeply moved me.

In the first half of the story, Clare Mackintosh explores the raw, honest, heart-wrenching emotions through parents Pip and Max. The second half then explores two different outcomes after the end from their POV. I struggled a bit with the credibility of Max’s after the end POV, but it did not take away from the power of this story at all. The story comes together well and I loved the way it wrapped up. Clare Mackintosh gave me hope and some closure to my own regrets, decisions, judgments made towards me and my mistakes as a parent leaving me with some peace with it all.

“Everyone has an opinion, yet the truth is that no one can really know what is right. No one can predict the future, and so all we can do is make a decision based on the facts we have, and—sometimes on what our heart tells us.”

The most beautiful thing here is this story is the hope and strength I could feel throughout the book right to the very end. Not only hope after a loss but the hope that the choices we make are the right ones and that we can find peace through our bravery, compassion, hope, dignity, and the power of our hearts and we can find who we are again.

Lindsay’s review

Heart-wrenching. Thought-provoking. Emotion-stirring. This has earned a spot on my Favourites List.

One of the most emotional, hard hitting and gut wrenching books I’ve ever read. Pip and Max face a decision that is every parents worst nightmare. Whether to continue treatment for their brain damaged, critically ill two-year-old son or take him off life support to end his suffering. How can one choose? What happens when the parents don’t agree on the decision?

I am emotionally exhausted after finishing this gripping, thought-provoking novel. Never have I ever used so many Kleenex to wipe away tears while reading a book. The author, Clare Mackintosh, does an outstanding job pulling the reader into this unimaginable, heart breaking situation. I felt as if I were there in the hospital room with these characters.

The story is narrated through both Pip and Max’s perspectives, along with their sons’ doctors’ perspective, which were all brilliantly executed. I put myself in each perspective and felt torn and gutted for what they were facing as parents and the doctor. At times, the story had me sobbing uncontrollably to the point that I had to put the book down and take an emotional rest. To say I was invested in this families’ journey is putting it lightly. I was full-out emotionally connected, hanging on every word, hold my breathe and clench my teeth in anticipation of what was to come, choke back sobs in sadness. I felt EVERYTHING alongside these characters.

This is a major change of pace novel for this author who writes thrillers. What a feat for her to successfully transition into such a serious and emotional genre. I’m in awe of her talent and look forward to what she comes out with next!

Thank you to Edelweiss and our local library for our copies of this unforgettable book! 

2 thoughts on “After the End by Clare Mackintosh”

  1. Oh wow those reviews are so respectably amazing. I am sure this book stays with your heart never forgotten. Hats off to you ladies for the reviews. Sounds like a book to be loved and respected, and left personally moved.


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