Book Review: After The End by Clare Mackintosh

“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.”

After The End by Clare Mackintosh, published in 2019, follows parents Max and Pip – husband and wife, best friends, lovers, and the strongest couple around. But when their son gets sick and the doctors put the question of his survival into their hands, Max and Pip can’t agree. They each want a different future for their son. What if they could have both?

Rating:

An emotional exploration of the bonds in marriage and parenthood, After The End is a powerful and heart-wrenching story about the different paths a vital decision can lead us on in life.

Clare Mackintosh explores the story beautifully, using her own painful experiences to shape a narrative about one of the worst situations two parents can find themselves in. It’s almost impossible to read it and not think “What would I do in this situation?”. But it was a question I didn’t want to give any more thought than that. I read the whole book with my hand on my heart and felt every ache of regret, hope, and devastation that these characters were faced with.

The book reminded me of the film La La Land in that I had the same emotional reaction to it, finishing the book in tears not knowing which path was the best one for them to take. It’s such a bittersweet story, breaking your heart into tiny pieces but also filling you with so much warmth at the same time, as Mackintosh helps you to see that sometimes the end is just another beginning.

I wasn’t expecting the Sliding Doors type scenario but that’s what gripped me most about this book, showing how Max and Pip handled the situation individually but also that their outcomes very much depending on their support for each other at the same time.

After The End is definitely a book that I won’t be able to stop thinking about any time soon and it has firmly taken its place as one of my favourites. What an absolutely beautiful story. Thank you, Clare, for writing it and for sharing your experience with us is such a profound way.

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