After The End – Clare Mackintosh

Max and Pip are the strongest couple you know. They’re best friends, lovers—unshakeable. But then their son gets sick and the doctors put the question of his survival into their hands. For the first time, Max and Pip can’t agree. They each want a different future for their son.

What if they could have both?

A gripping and propulsive exploration of love, marriage, parenthood, and the road not taken, After the End brings one unforgettable family from unimaginable loss to a surprising, satisfying, and redemptive ending and the life they are fated to find. With the emotional power of Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper, Mackintosh helps us to see that sometimes the end is just another beginning

About the Author:

Clare Mackintosh spent twelve years in the police force, including time on CID, and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 to work as a freelance journalist and social media consultant now writes full time. She lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.

Clare’s debut novel, I Let You Go, is a Sunday Times bestseller and was the fastest-selling title by a new crime writer in 2015. It was selected for both the Richard and Judy Book Club, and was the winning title of the readers’ vote for the summer 2015 selection, and ITV’s Loose Women’s Loose Books. Her second novel, I See You, is a number 1 Sunday Times bestseller, and a Richard and Judy Book Club pick. Clare’s books are translated into more than 30 languages.

Clare is the patron of the Silver Star Society, an Oxford-based charity which supports the work carried out in the John Radcliffe Hospital’s Silver Star unit, providing special care for mothers with medical complications during pregnancy.

My Review:

This book is about every parents worst nightmare coming true and then doubling it.  This is the situation Pip and Max find themselves in when their beautiful son, Dylan is diagnosed with a brain tumour at just over two years old.  Unfortunately during surgery to remove the cancer he was left with severe brain damage leaving him unable to ever walk or talk or lead a pain-free life.

When the hospital gives them the impossible decision to either continue treatment to give Dylan a little more time or to provide palliative care, Pip and Max find themselves disagreeing with what is best for their son and now they are fighting each other rather than uniting together.

The story is cleverly told through the points of view of the three main characters; Pip and Max the parents and Leila, the Doctor who is looking after Dylan.  All the characters felt authentic and I found myself completely immersed throughout.

There is so much more I want to say about this book, but after having read the author’s note at the end of the book and knowing about her own loss, I can simply say that After The End is a brave and beautifully told story about love, loss, family and grief.  I can’t add more because I can’t begin to imagine the pain and despair anyone with a terminally ill child goes through and whilst this is a fictional story, the fact that the author drew on her own experiences brings Pip, Max and Dylan to life in a raw and heartbreaking narrative.


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