After the End
by Clare Mackintosh
Publication date: June 25th 2019
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio
I listened to this book as part of the listen-along organised by Tandem Collective. A big group of lovely bookish people listened to the story w/c 11th May, stopping along the way to discuss. If you’d like to see what we discussed, you can catch up with the listen-along in my Instagram story highlights.
Max and Pip are the strongest couple you know. They’re best friends, lovers—unshakable. 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.
“None of us knows what’s going to happen in the future, love. The only thing we can do is make our choices on the way we feel right here, right now.”
Let’s start by saying that this is nothing like the other two books by Clare Mackintosh that I have read, and it’s certainly not a thriller, as I can see some people have shelved it on Goodreads. This is an emotional contemporary story that’s going to rip your heart out!
“After the End” explores the lives of Max and Pip, parents of Dylan, a young boy with a brain tumour. When the hospital recommends that they pursue no further treatment, Pip and Max have differing views on how to proceed.
This is an emotionally challenging topic and it was a pretty hard read at times, especially when emotions are already running high in this lockdown period!
The narration of this audiobook was really well done, with one narrator per parent. I particularly liked Pip’s voice, expressions and emotions. This story alternates between Max and Pip and this means that you’re able to see both sides of the argument clearly. Even if you have strong views one way or the other, you can’t help but feel for the other parent and understand where they are coming from.
There are some really lovely, thought provoking quotes in this book and in general I felt that it was very well written. Some parts felt a little repetitive for me and I did find I got a little lost in the second half (I had to rewind and re-listen to a chapter or two) but that didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the story.
The author’s note at the end was particularly moving and I have great respect for the author and her story.
Overall rating: “After the End” is an emotional, contemporary novel about two people facing the hardest decision of their lives. I enjoyed the narration and would definitely recommend the audiobook – this was a great 4 star read for me.
See my other reviews of books by Clare Mackintosh here: