After the End
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.

After the End Details

TitleAfter the End
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 25th, 2019
PublisherSphere
Rating
GenreFiction, Thriller, Mystery

After the End Review

  • Dorie - Traveling Sister :)
    January 1, 1970
    Review to follow 3 1/2 rounded up to 4.This was an incredibly hard book to read and an even harder book to review. I have waited a few days to let my thoughts settle and have decided to try and write this review to help others decide if it’s something they would like to read.I had read Ms. Macintosh’s thrillers and really loved them. I knew what this book was about but it was more thought provoking and heartbreaking than I had imagined. As you know from the blurb, two young parents disagree on t Review to follow 3 1/2 rounded up to 4.This was an incredibly hard book to read and an even harder book to review. I have waited a few days to let my thoughts settle and have decided to try and write this review to help others decide if it’s something they would like to read.I had read Ms. Macintosh’s thrillers and really loved them. I knew what this book was about but it was more thought provoking and heartbreaking than I had imagined. As you know from the blurb, two young parents disagree on the decision of whether to continue life support to their young 3 year old son. Dylan has a brain tumor which was partially resected, now growing back. It has damaged his brain beyond repair and he will never be able to walk, talk, communicate his needs and there is no hope for further improvement.As a reader I felt that the first half of the book was stronger. We follow Pip and Max as they struggle to come to terms with the fact that their beloved son will never grow to be a normal child, never be able to lead any semblance of a normal life. Then they must make a decision that no parent should ever have to make. Their relationship and marriage are well outlined and I felt as though these character were very well described. I felt my heart ache for both of them. The author has been through this trial, she lost one of her twin babies more than a decade ago. Perhaps this is why the hospital scenes feel so real, raw and heartbreaking. From a statement by the author: “A key location for AFTER THE END is an Intensive Care Unit. Twelve years ago I spent four months in ICU with my newborn twins. Writing the scenes set in hospital was easy because everything feels still so vivid and clear, all these years later. The beeps and whirrs of the machines, the fluorescent lighting, the smell of the anti-bac gel...a sensory overload I translated into words.”The second half of the book gives us two possible court decisions and what Pip and Max’s life might be like after either decision, to take Dylan off of life support or to allow his father to take him to the US for a type of radiation treatment.The second half of the book was a much slower read for me. Much of the dialogue seemed repetitive from one thread to the other and at times it was difficult to follow the back and forth between the two separate scenarios. I think I would have preferred one outcome to be established with the reader left with the thought of “what if the ruling had gone the other way?” I can definitely recommend this book but warn that there are some very descriptive elements of severely ill children which may be hard for some people to read. It is well written and covers a subject which is very pertinent in our world of ever increasing technological developments in the medical field.This book is set to publish on June 25, 2019.I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss. This was a Traveling Sisters read.
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  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    Parenting is hard. I think every parent might have experienced time in the upbringing of his/her child where they do not agree upon something with the child's other parent be it, curfew, discipline, when to have a cell phone, etc. But what happens when you are faced with the ultimate decision? What happens when your child gets sick? When your child has a terminal disease. Do you prolong his life to only face the inevitable? Do you allow him to pass away with comfort and care? How do you decide? Parenting is hard. I think every parent might have experienced time in the upbringing of his/her child where they do not agree upon something with the child's other parent be it, curfew, discipline, when to have a cell phone, etc. But what happens when you are faced with the ultimate decision? What happens when your child gets sick? When your child has a terminal disease. Do you prolong his life to only face the inevitable? Do you allow him to pass away with comfort and care? How do you decide? How would you?This book explores what happens when a married couple, Pip and Max, who love each other and love their child, Dylan, but cannot agree on what to do. As they cannot decide, the courts must step in and make a decision that is in their son's best interest. The second half of the book explores what would happen if the judge decides what will happen regarding Dylan's terminal illness.. If he decides in the Mother's favor, what lies in store for their son and for each parent. If the Judge runs in the Father's favor, what lies in store for their son and each parent. This was an interesting concept but also a repetitive one.An interesting twist is that this book also focuses on the child's doctor who is emotionally affected by Dylan's case as well.I enjoyed the first half of the book much more than the second half. As I mentioned the second half was repetitive at times but did show the sad ways that a child's death can affect a couple. Not only the child's death but what happens when two people cannot agree on something. How it can wear on them, their relationship and those in their lives. Many couples and marriages do not last after the loss of a child. What will happen to this one?This is a thought-provoking book which may be difficult for some to read. Even sadder is that the Author herself, lost a child. While reading this book, I often wondered if this was an emotionally challenging book to write or if it was a cathartic experience. This was a traveling sister read.Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss who provided me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Ova - Excuse My Reading
    January 1, 1970
    Have you ever heard about Charlie Gard? I thought so much about that poor baby during reading this book. Couldn't help thinking Mackintosh was inspired by that real life event but I have learned sadly Claire Mackintosh herself lost a child so really felt for her during reading this book and how brave of her to write about this difficult subjects.. Turning her own experience into an eye opening read is definitely worth congratulating.This book is about a terminally ill child and her parents: Pip Have you ever heard about Charlie Gard? I thought so much about that poor baby during reading this book. Couldn't help thinking Mackintosh was inspired by that real life event but I have learned sadly Claire Mackintosh herself lost a child so really felt for her during reading this book and how brave of her to write about this difficult subjects.. Turning her own experience into an eye opening read is definitely worth congratulating.This book is about a terminally ill child and her parents: Pip and Max. So do not read this thinking it's a thriller. It isn't!I am really in between 3 or 4 stars on this one but settled on 3.I loved the first part of the book. It's a difficult subject, a dilemma, a decision you should never judge unless you're making it yourself. There is the painful reality of losing a child without being able to do anything. The emotions of Pip and Max were so brilliantly portrayed. As much as I enjoyed "before" I didn't really like "after". Part of my problem with this book was Doctor Leila- I did expect her story to continue in the "after" section- but it really didn't. I thought she was thrown in to make a point- and I respect that- but her sudden fall from the story (view spoiler)[-despite her appearance later- (hide spoiler)]wasn't something I enjoyed. I also found the alternate scenarios a bit confusing to read - as there were different point of views- and they really started to drag at one point around 75% also again I didn't get why there were two alternates (I see it's the weight of that decision and what-if's but especially when the story transformed into dating adventures of the parents I questioned that)Overall this was a good read but I think if the aftermath of the event was a bit shorter and the court sections were longer instead, I'd have enjoyed this more.
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  • Louise Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    Max and Pip have a toddler called Dylan. Sadly he has been diagnosed with a brain tumour, of which surgeons could not remove all off. Then they are given the devastating news that the Timor is growing again. There is nothing more the surgeons can do but give him palliative care and make sure that he is pain free. Max, not wanting to give up on his son, researches the disease hoping to find a cure for his son. He finds that it can be treated in America. But first he has to take the hospital to co Max and Pip have a toddler called Dylan. Sadly he has been diagnosed with a brain tumour, of which surgeons could not remove all off. Then they are given the devastating news that the Timor is growing again. There is nothing more the surgeons can do but give him palliative care and make sure that he is pain free. Max, not wanting to give up on his son, researches the disease hoping to find a cure for his son. He finds that it can be treated in America. But first he has to take the hospital to court so that they will keep Dylan alive until they get to America.This book reminded me so much about Charlie Gard, a young boy from England, whose parents fought to keep their young son alive so that he could get treatment in America. My heart was on my sleeve reading the first half of this book. I couldn't get through it quick enough. The second half has a duel storyline. The first being Pip's scenario, she just wants the plait ive care for her son. She did not want to see him suffer any longer than necessary. Max's story is where the court grants him his wish to take Dylan to America to receive treatment. The scenarios are told in alternating chapters and at times, this was quite confusing. Through they are both written about beautifully. If the author has stuck to one conclusion this would definitely have been a 5⭐️ read.I would like to thank NetGalley, Little brown Book Group UK and the author Clare Mackintosh for my ARC In exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jayme
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, I hope I can do this beautiful book justice! This is the story of Max and Pip- two parents who love each other but who love their son Dylan more. Dylan has a tumor which could not be completely removed, and it is growing again. His brain damage is irreparable, and if he lives, he will not walk or talk, or be able to communicate his needs. Max and Pip must decide if they should explore a treatment which will NOT cure him, but MAY extend his life..or allow the Doctors to provide only comfort c Oh, I hope I can do this beautiful book justice! This is the story of Max and Pip- two parents who love each other but who love their son Dylan more. Dylan has a tumor which could not be completely removed, and it is growing again. His brain damage is irreparable, and if he lives, he will not walk or talk, or be able to communicate his needs. Max and Pip must decide if they should explore a treatment which will NOT cure him, but MAY extend his life..or allow the Doctors to provide only comfort care and allow him to die. Each has a different thought on what is right, so the court must decide. This is issue driven fiction at its finest! Although Clare Mackintosh is known for her three outstanding suspense novels, previously, she has wanted to write THIS story for more than a decade. The reason: She and her husband had to make this IMPOSSIBLE decision, twelve years ago. Parents in this situation will forever question if they have made the right choice...The novel introduces you to this loving family, walking the same path until they reach that fork in the road, where the court must decide. Then it uses the "sliding doors" approach to finish the novel, where it explores the outcome of each path-the one in which the court rules in favor of Max-and what he feels is the right decision for his son vs. the course of action which Pip feels is right, and what might transpire if the court rules in her favor. I became lost in their story, and I finished with tears streaming down my face, but in the best possible way!Though I felt each parent's pain, and fear, and doubt, in the author's own words.."this is not a story about loss, but about hope. Hope for the future, for a life beyond an unavoidable tragedy." I felt that hope too.....as the book ends on a POSITIVE note, not a sad one..no matter which parent you side with, and despite the difficult subject of a toddler who is dying.Perhaps only someone who has experienced this could tackle this subject with the sensitivity and understanding required. Although many married couples do not survive the loss of a child, this story does hope to share the message that you"can shape the years that follow, and choose to live again."I would like to thank Edelweiss for the digital ARC I received in exchange for a candid review. And, to thank Claire Mackintosh for sharing her experience in this work of fiction. This title will be available June 25, 2019! Pre-order today!
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    I don't even know where to start with a review at the moment - reading this so early gives me the opportunity to not have to say too much as yet so nearer publication I will attempt to write a full review and make it count.I can't even begin to imagine what it took to write this but After The End is incredible. Just that. The sheer weight of emotion in it is astounding, beautiful even in heartache and it offers a perspective and ultimately a choice for the reader that makes you think, really thi I don't even know where to start with a review at the moment - reading this so early gives me the opportunity to not have to say too much as yet so nearer publication I will attempt to write a full review and make it count.I can't even begin to imagine what it took to write this but After The End is incredible. Just that. The sheer weight of emotion in it is astounding, beautiful even in heartache and it offers a perspective and ultimately a choice for the reader that makes you think, really think about the toughest life choices.Probably one thing that should be said, just because of expectations, is that "After The End " is not a psychological thriller, it's not like anything you will have read from Clare before - but this is a book that brings right to the forefront, her amazing talent, her ability to vividly show all the light, the dark, the nuance of human emotion. It is incredibly personal and touches your soul on the most basic level.I won't forget this one.
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  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    Parenting is hard. I think every parent might have experienced time in the upbringing of their child where they do not agree upon something with the child's other parent be it, curfew, discipline, when to have a cell phone, etc. But what happens when you are faced with the ultimate decision? What happens when your child gets sick? When your child has a terminal disease. Do you prolong his life to only face the inevitable? Do you allow him to pass away with comfort and care? How do you decide? Ho Parenting is hard. I think every parent might have experienced time in the upbringing of their child where they do not agree upon something with the child's other parent be it, curfew, discipline, when to have a cell phone, etc. But what happens when you are faced with the ultimate decision? What happens when your child gets sick? When your child has a terminal disease. Do you prolong his life to only face the inevitable? Do you allow him to pass away with comfort and care? How do you decide? How would you?This book explores what happens when a married couple, Pip and Max, who love each other and love their child, Dylan, but cannot agree on what to do. As they cannot decide, the courts must step in and make a decision that is in their son's best interest. The second half of the book explores what would happen if the judge decides for both parents. If he decides in the Mother's favor, what lies in store for their son and for each parent. If the Judge runs in the Father's favor, what lies in store for their son and each parent. This was an interesting concept but also a repetitive one.An interesting twist is that this book also focuses on the child's doctor who is emotionally affected by Dylan's case as well.I enjoyed the first half of the book much more than the second half. As I mentioned the second half was repetitive at times but did show the sad ways that a child's death can affect a couple. Not only the child's death but what happens when two people cannot agree on something. How it can wear on them, their relationship and those in their lives. Many couples and marriages do not last after the loss of a child. What will happen to this one?This is a thought-provoking book which may be difficult for some to read. Even sadder is that the Author herself, lost a child. While reading this book, I often wondered if this was an emotionally challenging book to write or if it was a cathartic experience. This was a traveling sister read.Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss who provided me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    Whenever I read a book by Claire Mackintosh I know to clear my day and get comfortable,as I will not be able to put her book down and won’t be disappointed!!Max and Pippa have a son Dylan who they adore. Sadly Dylan is diagnosed as having a brain tumour ,which couldn’t be removed during surgery and caused brain damage which will leave him unable to walk or talk.Max and Pippa have the dreadful decision whether to opt for further treatment which may lengthen his life but not cure him or to allow d Whenever I read a book by Claire Mackintosh I know to clear my day and get comfortable,as I will not be able to put her book down and won’t be disappointed!!Max and Pippa have a son Dylan who they adore. Sadly Dylan is diagnosed as having a brain tumour ,which couldn’t be removed during surgery and caused brain damage which will leave him unable to walk or talk.Max and Pippa have the dreadful decision whether to opt for further treatment which may lengthen his life but not cure him or to allow doctors to give him palliative care till he dies.This decision is hard enough but when Max and Pippa’s decisions are not the same, they have to let the courts decide. Their relationship is stretched to breaking point at a time when they should be there for one other. This is such a beautifully written book, I was drawn into this book from the first page and had a Massive lump in my throat whilst reading this emotional story. This sensitive topic was dealt with compassion and understanding and left me with a tear in my eye.A must read book that will tug at anyone’s heartstrings and reminds us all never to give up hope no matter what. You cannot help thinking what would you have done in this scenario!!Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a review.
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  • NZLisaM
    January 1, 1970
    Jodi Picoult fans, eat your heart out!When it comes to writing a compelling, engaging, insightful story, Claire Mackintosh can do no wrong in my book, and even though I knew going in that this was going to be completely different from her usual domestic suspense thrillers (which I love) I was still desperate for the chance to read it.After the End is the story of a terminally-ill toddler with multiple deliberating disabilities. Dylan is not yet three years-old but as the result of a brain injury Jodi Picoult fans, eat your heart out!When it comes to writing a compelling, engaging, insightful story, Claire Mackintosh can do no wrong in my book, and even though I knew going in that this was going to be completely different from her usual domestic suspense thrillers (which I love) I was still desperate for the chance to read it.After the End is the story of a terminally-ill toddler with multiple deliberating disabilities. Dylan is not yet three years-old but as the result of a brain injury is paralysed from the neck down, unable to communicate or swallow, unlikely to have any awareness of his surroundings, and without medication would be in constant pain. His parents are forced to make a decision no parents should ever have to make – stop all treatment, except pain relief, and allow him to die, or opt for an experimental treatment that may extend his life. With mother and father on opposing sides it's up to the courts to decide.Before incorporated the days leading up to, and directly following, Dylan's parents receiving the devastating news that his tumor had grown to such an extent that they needed to make a decision regarding his future treatment. We were offered three differing, equally valuable perspectives – mother (Pip), father (Max) and one of the consultants looking after Dylan (Dr. Leila Khalili).Clare Mackintosh did an incredible job of showing what life is like in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) section of the hospital – the day-to-day, and overall struggles of dealing and coping with a severely ill child, the support system including medical staff, and other parents in the ward, and the environment, treatment, and equipment. Glimpses into what Dylan was like when he was healthy, and when he first started developing symptoms gave us an overall picture of life before, and Dylan's personality. Max and Pip's resilience and love for each other, and the effects on their relationship and marriage was evident throughout. But at its core of course was their all encompassing love for their son.The After section of the novel used dual POV's (Pip and Max) and parallel-timelines to show the different directions their lives might've gone in, depending on the Judge's ruling. This format didn't work as well for me as the first half, as things became somewhat repetitive, but I understand what the author was trying to achieve, and appreciated being given both outcomes of such an agonising decision. Even though I knew logically that neither option was going to end favourably for little Dylan, in my heart of hearts I would've been left wondering “what if?" so to be offered up both timelines gave me a sense of closure I wouldn't have gotten otherwise. The only other small issue I had with the last half was that I dearly missed Leila's viewpoint – she was a wonderful character that I would've liked to have heard more from.Even though I personally prefer her thrillers, Clare Mackintosh has penned something truly special in this moving story of love, loss, guilt, grieving and hope.I'd like to thank Netgalley UK. Little Brown Book Group UK – Sphere, and Clare Mackintosh for the e-ARC. US/UK Release Date: 25th June, 2019.
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  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    A lot of folks are calling After the End by Clare Mackintosh a mystery or a thriller but I didn’t get either vibe from this one but maybe more perhaps just general fiction or a tad drama. The story is one in which parents are caring for a sick child, not searching for a missing one.Max and Pip are a young married couple that thought they had everything going for. Very much in love and with a wonderful son things were good until one day they were’t. These parents get the most devastating news whe A lot of folks are calling After the End by Clare Mackintosh a mystery or a thriller but I didn’t get either vibe from this one but maybe more perhaps just general fiction or a tad drama. The story is one in which parents are caring for a sick child, not searching for a missing one.Max and Pip are a young married couple that thought they had everything going for. Very much in love and with a wonderful son things were good until one day they were’t. These parents get the most devastating news when they find Dylan has a brain tumor.As with any parent out there Max and Pip only want what is best for their son but after the terminal prognosis they are given a choice on Dylan’s care and the couple cannot agree on what would be the best decision. When Max and Pip come to a stale mate the court is brought in to be the deciding factor.I have previously read a few of Clare Mackintosh’s thrillers and had really enjoyed them so awesome writing was to be expected as usual. The thing with this one is it is a completely depressing subject and hard to “love”. It also didn’t help that the second half tackles the what if of both choices and becomes somewhat repetitive. I do think this was worth the read as it’s certainly thought provoking but readers need to beware of the sad and heavy subject matter.I received an advance copy from the publisher via Edelweiss.For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
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  • Pauline
    January 1, 1970
    I have read and enjoyed all of Clare Mackintosh's previous books and was delighted to receive a copy of her latest book After the End.This story is unlike any of her other books. This is a story of a family in crises, a sad emotional tale of a terminally ill child and the choice that his parents have to make for his future. A thought provoking story that made me think of what I would do in their shoes.Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for my e-copy in exchange for an honest I have read and enjoyed all of Clare Mackintosh's previous books and was delighted to receive a copy of her latest book After the End.This story is unlike any of her other books. This is a story of a family in crises, a sad emotional tale of a terminally ill child and the choice that his parents have to make for his future. A thought provoking story that made me think of what I would do in their shoes.Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Shelby
    January 1, 1970
    When you get married, you never imagine anything tearing your relationship apart. But even the strongest of marriages falter when tragedy strikes. And unfortunately, the crack in their marriage is unavoidable for Pip and Max when their toddler son, Dylan, is diagnosed with having a brain tumor. Pip and Max manage to be supportive of one another and hopeful for Dylan’s sake for months, up until Dylan’s doctor says that his tumor is increasing in size and that it would be fruitless to continue car When you get married, you never imagine anything tearing your relationship apart. But even the strongest of marriages falter when tragedy strikes. And unfortunately, the crack in their marriage is unavoidable for Pip and Max when their toddler son, Dylan, is diagnosed with having a brain tumor. Pip and Max manage to be supportive of one another and hopeful for Dylan’s sake for months, up until Dylan’s doctor says that his tumor is increasing in size and that it would be fruitless to continue care. That continuing treatment would only lower his quality of life in exchange for a few extra months. The news Pip and Max receive is devastating and they are forced to make a choice: stop treatment so Dylan no longer has to suffer or continue treatment on the off chance it could temporarily extend his life? Pip always thought that the hardest part of Dylan’s illness would be just that—his illness. She never would’ve imagined that one of the hardest parts would be her and Max disagreeing on how to treat Dylan’s illness. Max doesn’t want to give up hope on Dylan. He wants to seek any alternative treatment possible to keep Dylan alive. Although Pip will never give up on her son, she doesn’t want him to live a pain-ridden life for the remainder of the time they may have left together. Pip and Max were always a united front, but this decision is tearing them apart in ways they never thought imaginable. A story that makes you question—what would you do? After the End by Clare Mackintosh is a heartbreaking story about a family that is faced with a life-altering decision that no parent should ever have to make. Mackintosh has written several suspense novels in the past and After the End strays from her usual genre of choice. Mackintosh says in her author’s note that she had to make a life-altering decision for her child and that this story reflects on that period in her life, which only gives this story a more real quality. Stories like this aren’t uplifting to read, but they are important and this one had me thinking about my own life, my own daughter and just what decision would I have made if I were in Pip and Max’s shoes. After the End struck home for me and had so much emotion that could only be written by someone who knew firsthand of this experience. I would recommend this story for anyone who has experienced this type of trauma, as it is healing in some ways to read about stories that somewhat mirror your own. And to people who haven’t experienced this type of life crisis, it’s a great eye-opening read that will most certainly tug at your heartstrings. 4.5/5 stars. Thank you to Edelweiss, G.P. Putnam’s Sons and Clare Mackintosh for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Ruthy lavin
    January 1, 1970
    A very well written book about an extremely touching and controversial subject.A moving story.Easily worthy of 4 stars.
  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    This is something entirely different from the author. Not a psychological thriller but an emotionally heartbreaking and beautifully written portrayal of how a loving relationship can be turned on its head by the most cruel and distressing of circumstances. Stunning writing from Clare Mackintosh that brings us so close to her characters and we're right there with them, through the best and the worst. A remarkable novel. Review to follow closer to publication on For Winter Nights.
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  • Rachel Hall
    January 1, 1970
    Clare Mackintosh’s latest novel is an emotionally charged and deeply personal exploration of best friends, soulmates and married couple, Max and Pip Adams, faced with the most impossible decision of their lives when their only child, Dylan, is diagnosed with a brain tumour. Opening with Dylan in a child paediatric care unit, the story follows the heartbreaking months prior to the medical boards formal recommendation on his future and ongoing care. The story allows the reader to experience a sens Clare Mackintosh’s latest novel is an emotionally charged and deeply personal exploration of best friends, soulmates and married couple, Max and Pip Adams, faced with the most impossible decision of their lives when their only child, Dylan, is diagnosed with a brain tumour. Opening with Dylan in a child paediatric care unit, the story follows the heartbreaking months prior to the medical boards formal recommendation on his future and ongoing care. The story allows the reader to experience a sense of the ups and downs of his treatment programme, gain some insight into the implications for the families future and see two devoted parents who are being gradually cleaved apart by a divisive decision.The consequences of either decision are devastating with far-reaching aftershocks that will influence all of their futures, and at the half-way juncture a sliding doors moment occurs and the dual narrative that follows sees Max and Pip living separate lives. For both, it is a very different future to what either could have imagined and the memory of Dylan and court ruling on their son’s fate continues to resonate throughout their lives.“Over the last few months we have learned that hope is one side of a seesaw balanced by despair; too quickly tipped from one to the other. We have learned to be cautious, to ask rather than assume, to take each day - each hour - as it comes.”Mackintosh’s ability to portray empathetically drawn characters and provide the reader with direct access to Max and Pip’s emotions means that a novel which might simply be compelling packs a huge emotional punch. It is impossible not to be drawn into Max and Pip’s predicament, ask yourself the same questions and judge their behaviour. But with the future unknowable, percentages merely an estimate and Dylan facing a life and future that neither Max, Pip or consultant Dr Leila Khalili can foresee, there are far more questions than answers. As Dylan’s case becomes newsworthy and attracts public interest everyone has an opinion in a situation where there are so few facts to cling onto. How do a couple make the unthinkable decision between a son or a marriage that will leave them both to forever ruminate on the choices they come to make in the weeks leading up to the hearing. How do you face a future once everything you know has been shaken to its core and your former supportive partner has been torn away from you by their vehement opposition on your son’s future care? And crucially, can you ever expect your child to lead a life you yourself would not want to? All are subjective questions and Clare Mackintosh forces her characters to face them head on with some heart rending moments. As well as presenting the emotionality raw viewpoints of Max and Pip the perspective of Dr Leila Khalili adds valuable insight into the debate and it is her role that makes apparent just how contentious the decision is with no right or wrong answers. Personal insight and exposure to such a devastating experience informs Clare Mackintosh’s novel and with striking effect allows the reader to experience a fraction of every parents worst nightmare. Thought-provoking and a compelling lesson on just how fragile our lives and everything we hold dear really are.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Firstly I need to say how very different this book is to the authors others. Having loved her other books which are under the psychological genre, this one couldn’t be any further away in terms of genre.Max and Pip are a loving couple who find themselves having to make one of the hardest decisions I think anyone can be faced with when it comes to their son. All through the story in fact I was so torn as to which direction I would have gone. It’s one of those scenario’s where you wish you could s Firstly I need to say how very different this book is to the authors others. Having loved her other books which are under the psychological genre, this one couldn’t be any further away in terms of genre.Max and Pip are a loving couple who find themselves having to make one of the hardest decisions I think anyone can be faced with when it comes to their son. All through the story in fact I was so torn as to which direction I would have gone. It’s one of those scenario’s where you wish you could see what the future holds. In a way this is what the author brings to the reader. We get a chance to see which direction the couples lives take, depending on which decision is made.This really is such a hard review to write as, as you can see, the blurb doesn’t give a great deal away. There are so many things I want to say about the story or talk about but think it may spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it so I really am trying to be as vague as I can be.The story alternates between Max and Pip so we get to see what is going on inside their heads. These two characters were just fabulous. I loved both of them. The more I got to know them the more like old friends they became. It felt at times like I was right by their side going through everything they were going through. I know it’s only fiction but you really couldn’t come across a nicer couple.After The End is a thought provoking, at times heart wrenching and emotional read. The author has written about a topic that I am sure could split many of us. People will certainly have their own thoughts on the matter but this story is more than that, it’s about the aftermath and how you live with that decision. It’s certainly something I don’t envy anyone and at the end I felt so bereft at having to leave these characters behind. I shed so many tears through out the story and I don’t regret one of them. The sign of a very talented story teller and a story that will definitely stay with me for a long time to come.My thanks to NetGalley and Little Brown Book Group UK for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.
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  • Heidi
    January 1, 1970
    AFTER THE END is a difficult book to review, not only because of the subject matter but knowing that it reflects some of the author’s own experiences when her child was critically ill. As a parent, I cannot imagine anything more heartbreaking than having to decide whether it would be kinder to let your child die rather than continue treatment for the sake of prolonging his life. Most marriages would struggle under the strain, but what if, on top of all the heartbreak, the parents do not agree on AFTER THE END is a difficult book to review, not only because of the subject matter but knowing that it reflects some of the author’s own experiences when her child was critically ill. As a parent, I cannot imagine anything more heartbreaking than having to decide whether it would be kinder to let your child die rather than continue treatment for the sake of prolonging his life. Most marriages would struggle under the strain, but what if, on top of all the heartbreak, the parents do not agree on the best course of action?Mackintosh is a fantastic writer, so it comes as little surprise that she presents us with true-to-life believable characters who are trapped in this sort of nightmare. Pip and Max’s three year old son Dylan has terminal brain cancer and is currently in PICU. The doctors feel that further treatment is futile because it would not be able to cure Dylan, and the effects of the would be so devastating that he would be severely brain damaged. Pip agrees. Max doesn’t. He wants to try proton treatment to prolong Dylan’s life, even knowing that Dylan will never be able to lead a normal life for the time he has left. So where do you go from there? If the parents cannot agree, a judge will have to step in to make a decision as to what is best for Dylan.As you can see, as much as the book will break your heart, there are also some valid ethical questions at play here. Max reasons that any life is worth living, even one where Dylan will be severely brain damaged. He feels that Dylan would still be able to feel some joy, and the love of his parents, and any extra time they could have with him would be worth the rigours of the treatment. Pip disagrees. She thinks her son has suffered enough already and she doesn’t think he should exist in a state where he is not able to live a fulfilling existence. She does not want to put him through any more pain. So who is right and who is wrong? I think you could debate this for hours, days, years and still not come up with an answer. So how can a judge decide?As the title suggests, the second half of the book focuses on the time “after the end”, meaning after Dylan’s death. Two separate options are explored, determined by the judge’s ruling. It was a clever “alternative universe” type concept that also shows that life will go on, even though Dylan’s death may seem like the end of life as they know it for both parents.To lend a impartial perspective to the narrative, the POV of a doctor caring for Dylan is also included, a voice I really enjoyed. It also showed the human side of the medical team caring for terminally ill children, and that they are not unaffected by their charges’ fates. As the story goes, this could never be anything other than heartbreaking, and it will be a strong trigger for anyone who has ever been in a similar situation or is vulnerable in some way through the death of a loved one. For a bookclub, it would make for some fantastic discussions around the ethical issues and the outfall of the judge’s decision. Purely judged as a novel, I found that the second half dragged in places for me and lost my interest at times. I found it interesting how Pip and Max’s lives went on after losing their son, but felt that too much time was spent on the part of the story where the reader is emotionally drained from exploring their own emotions regarding Dylan’s death and his parents’ terrible dilemma.Am I glad that I read it? Yes, definitely. It was thought-provoking and confronting and challenged some of my own beliefs. Would I recommend it to anyone? That depends – it is a sad and often depressing read, so if you are vulnerable at the moment be aware that there will be triggers. I loved the way the author was able to present both parents’ different views in a non-biased manner that allows readers to reflect on both options without being steered in the direction of the author’s own opinions. Most other authors who tackle this type of subject manner do so with an agenda, which refreshingly was absent here, allowing the reader to come to understand both parents and why they felt the way they did. I hope that writing this novel was a cathartic for the author and thank her for sharing such a personal, painful issue with us!Thank you to Edelweiss and G.P. Putnam's Sons for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review. And the the Traveling Sisters group for another great group read. *blog* *facebook* *instagram*
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  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    This is not your typical thriller from Clare as this is in fact a terrible life altering dramatic disheartening story that will require a good box of Kleenex prior to reading and may require you to stop and pause for a second or two.It all begins with a loving couple named Pip and Max. They loved each other and were a strong couple in life and in faith until tragedy struck and their 3yo son Dylan was diagnosed with a brain tumor.Dylan's medical team recommended no further treatment should be adm This is not your typical thriller from Clare as this is in fact a terrible life altering dramatic disheartening story that will require a good box of Kleenex prior to reading and may require you to stop and pause for a second or two.It all begins with a loving couple named Pip and Max. They loved each other and were a strong couple in life and in faith until tragedy struck and their 3yo son Dylan was diagnosed with a brain tumor.Dylan's medical team recommended no further treatment should be administered with only palliative care needed.Right to life vs. quality of life is at stake as the parents truly have different view points and take it to the courts for a final decision.That decision is excruciating for any parent but the marriage is also compromised from the stress of their actions and ultimately their decisions.While they do love one another they also seek a different path and for readers we are welcomed into the two different worlds of both parents in seeking acceptance, love, validation, and peace.Weathering the storm is something that I sadly know all too well.While my son fought for life being born with Vater Syndrome his father told me to 'pull the plug' if I couldn't handle it alone while he worked five states away. He never did visit his son in the hospital for those two months and our next two were only blessed with a second or two of his precious time before he sped out of the hospital always hiding behind his work.He wanted to give up on our son and thank god I'm independent and tenacious as I would never ever give up on my kids. Family to me comes first before anything else.When I was pregnant the doctors told me I could have a newborn with down syndrome and after having read my blood results they asked if I wanted to abort.I'm a woman of faith and believe god is good and he'd never steer me wrong and so I went through the pregnancy having an emergency c section after my placenta separated from a placental abruption.Most women don't survive nor do their babies as it results in massive blood loss. I needed two pints and my son was life flighted while I struggled for life.The doctors told me I was not allowed to leave the hospital after having a major operation and blood transfusion and I said to them, "If that was your child what would you do?"I had to relearn how to walk, sit, stand, and slide out of bed from the side angle. You never realize just how many stomach muscles you use to do simple things daily.Yet, today my son is 18 yo and that 2m nicu stay is something I'll never forget.Why?Because a young baby lost his/her life right next to my son in the NICU. I'll never forget seeing the parents pain knowing my son was still fighting for life hooked up to every machine known to mankind. I'll never forget the white sheet placed upon that beautiful baby.I'll never forget not being able to truly touch my child, having to see him struggle for life, but it's through those struggles that we become stronger. Those intercom hospital calls are supposed to be for others not your own. You see I'm in extreme poverty. That same lovely man left us bankrupt, homeless, LT unemployed after I gave up my career to raise my med disabled son and two other high risk pregnancies alone. He threw every obstacle he could in our path yet God lit the way.I have fought like hell to get where I am today and all three of my kids are honor roll students taking advance courses with my son set to graduate next month from high school and head off to college. This from a kid they noted would be developmentally delayed, speech/hearing impaired, and required physical therapy to simply mobilize. Ladies and gents the heart of a parent is stronger than the will to let go. Love is greater than hate. Believe that!When others gave me obstacles I looked to God and said one thing, " If God is For Me Who Can Be Against Me?" Romans 8:31My heart goes out to anyone who has dealt with such decisions in life v death.I know for myself spending two months in the Nicu was something I will never forget because when I look back and see the path I took I praise God for his wisdom, glory, guidance.Stay true, stay strong, stay in faith and love one another! As for Clare you have shown what true love is and your strength, courage, and beauty shines bright.God BlessDonna M. HinesMinister of Hospitality St. Ignatius of Loyola Kingston Pa
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Clare Macintosh is an author with enviable storytelling skills who has knife-like precision when it comes to writing the perfect thriller. Her pacing, characters and ability to ramp up the tension to the final few pages is incomparable. Therefore, I will buy and read anything she writes without knowing a single thing about the novel I’m about to delve into – she could write anything, and I’d read it! I am so very thankful to Little, Brown for allowing me an early NetGalley copy of After The End Clare Macintosh is an author with enviable storytelling skills who has knife-like precision when it comes to writing the perfect thriller. Her pacing, characters and ability to ramp up the tension to the final few pages is incomparable. Therefore, I will buy and read anything she writes without knowing a single thing about the novel I’m about to delve into – she could write anything, and I’d read it! I am so very thankful to Little, Brown for allowing me an early NetGalley copy of After The End to review. I will be buying myself a copy as soon as it comes out to treasure forever because this book has firmly found a place in my ‘Top Books Of All Time’ list. I curled up in bed and opened After The End ready to get involved in another wickedly clever thriller, determined more than ever to outsmart Clare and work out the plot. However, what I got myself lost in was an intimate, intoxicating, incandescent novel that lingered in my mind every second I was away from the pages. I want to leave this review as enigmatic as possible because the most effective way to read this novel is to know very little about what it entails and uncover the beauty of it for yourself. What I will say though is this book will leave you torn in half with an impossible decision dividing not only the narrative but the characters within it. Clare draws on her own personal experience to write this touching novel and it is brutal in its honesty. It’s, at times, overwhelmingly emotional and will touch even the hardest of hearts. I flew through the pages of After The End with tears pricking at my eyes and a heavy heart. You sometimes read books that feel important or life-changing but it’s rare to find a book that is both and then a little bit more. It moved me in ways I haven’t been moved by a novel in a long time, it renewed my faith in so many little things and gave me the chance to explore a decision I hope I’d never have to make. This novel is both heart-warming and heart-breaking. It is funny and sad, light and dark, upsetting and uplifting. It is a novel of pure brilliance and one I would read a thousand times over and still not get bored. I can only hope this marks the first of many novels like this from Clare.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    I always read the authors notes before I read the book, once it revealed the plot twist arrrghhhhh! Clare’s acknowledgements however revealed that she has been in the exact same position as Pip and Max, her characters from After the end. It’s a heart breaking story, a couple whose not - yet 3 son has a brain tumour and despite surgery the tumour is growing. His prognosis is that there is no hope. One parent wants him to die peacefully with pain relief, the other parent wants him to have radical I always read the authors notes before I read the book, once it revealed the plot twist arrrghhhhh! Clare’s acknowledgements however revealed that she has been in the exact same position as Pip and Max, her characters from After the end. It’s a heart breaking story, a couple whose not - yet 3 son has a brain tumour and despite surgery the tumour is growing. His prognosis is that there is no hope. One parent wants him to die peacefully with pain relief, the other parent wants him to have radical therapy that may lengthen his life. The case ends up in court, and as the verdict is announced by the judge we get to see two different paths travelled.
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  • Dorothy Tracey
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from Putnum/Penguin Random House as a result of entering a Goodreads Giveaway for my honest thoughts and review. I have let some time pass since finishing this book before I tried to write a review. First, I'd like to send my thoughts to the author who's own son's health left her and her husband to make difficult decisions of what to do next. I cannot imagine the horrific difficulty and heartache that you must have gone through; and I thank you for sharing this book with the re I received an ARC from Putnum/Penguin Random House as a result of entering a Goodreads Giveaway for my honest thoughts and review. I have let some time pass since finishing this book before I tried to write a review. First, I'd like to send my thoughts to the author who's own son's health left her and her husband to make difficult decisions of what to do next. I cannot imagine the horrific difficulty and heartache that you must have gone through; and I thank you for sharing this book with the reading community. How very brave you are...This book touches on the uninmaginable topic of needing to make a life changing decision for a child who cannot make it for him or herself; but mix into that equation the fact that you and your spouse/partner differ on what exactly is the right decision. I will say that the way this book is written it will not be for everyone. Not only is it not for the faint of heart, but it is also told in a very unique point of view. The "After" part of the book is told from the perspective of what would have happened had the judge sided with the father and also would have happened if the judge sided with the mother. The "After" timelines do not line up with each other; which adds another bump in the keeping track of things. This will be difficult for people that like an easy book or don't like to keep track of mulitdimensional story-lines happening at the same, yet different times. For me I love this kind of book... and I'm not sure that I can adequetly review this portion. I thought the "After" timeline is genius. Max and Pip's timelines are 2.5 years apart. Yet the two "After" stories run tangentially to one another and eventually cross and then run parallel to one another. It's not like any point of view I can remember reading before.It's trully astounding how the "After" makes one think what if this is what would have happened regardless of which side the Judge favored. It is also amazing how the author simply shows us how the "After" lives end up in each senario and never chooses a favoring side. Perhaps some readers will feel that the end of the book offers no resolution..But I feel that the ending leaves the reader on the path of understanding different ideas of what was considered "right", of a relationship that really was based on love and respect, and how a parent's life can go on "after" when faced with making an unthinkable decision.Thank you again for the opportunity to read this book. It is definitely one that has written itself onto my soul.
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  • michelle
    January 1, 1970
    I always get excited to hear Clare Mackintosh has a new book out. I have read her other books and loved them. But this is different for her other books. This is not a psychological thriller.After hearing about the sad loss of Clare’s own child. It has inspired her to write this one. Max and Pip and a son Dylan. He is their world. When Dylan gets Cancer that leaves him brain damaged and the doctor can’t do anything else for him. Max and Pip must make a decision that changes both their lives. But I always get excited to hear Clare Mackintosh has a new book out. I have read her other books and loved them. But this is different for her other books. This is not a psychological thriller.After hearing about the sad loss of Clare’s own child. It has inspired her to write this one. Max and Pip and a son Dylan. He is their world. When Dylan gets Cancer that leaves him brain damaged and the doctor can’t do anything else for him. Max and Pip must make a decision that changes both their lives. But they both want different things for him. When a decision can’t be made it eventually made by the courts, where the courts decide what’s best for him.This is an emotional and heart-breaking story of when’s one child get terminally ill. What the parents go through and the sacrifices they make and the aftermath and how life goes on. As I have never had a child myself, I can’t imagine what a parent goes through. I enjoyed the first half of this book but sadly I didn’t quite get the gist of the alternative endings and going back and forwards in time I got a bit confused. Three stars from me
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    The book is split into the before and the after. As you can guess from the title, this is going to involve loss and tragedy. Cancer is common in life and in writing. It is something all of us can empathise with, and with that in mind I saw the title and thought of this asshole of a disease. The book's first section, the "Before", centres the story from the points of view of the parents, whose child is suffering from cancer, and may only have months to live, despite being only three. The nuances The book is split into the before and the after. As you can guess from the title, this is going to involve loss and tragedy. Cancer is common in life and in writing. It is something all of us can empathise with, and with that in mind I saw the title and thought of this asshole of a disease. The book's first section, the "Before", centres the story from the points of view of the parents, whose child is suffering from cancer, and may only have months to live, despite being only three. The nuances of the actions that the characters carry out, their thought processes, and the details involved, had me thinking "this is real", "the author is writing this from a genuine place" - and I feel that once you have your audience thinking that - you can't hope to have done a better job of channelling your own pain into writing. As the child begins to succumb to cancer, the parents disagree over trying new treatments (the dad), vs palliative care until death (the mum). Their disagreement leads to a court case. In the second part "After" the book splits into two alternative timelines, in the mother's version she got her way, and in the father's version he gets his. Allowing us to follow both "what if" scenarios. I loved this idea initially, but the stories are at times to similar to disentangle, and the outcomes and plot developments don't have the strength of the "Before" section to make for a compelling read. I felt that the author could have just stuck with the before section, and have lost very little of her message. The acknowledgements at the end, where the author admits that this was channelled from her experience, helped bring it home. It would have been good to have read about an extended version of her own story - who were the real life influences behind her characters and events? - 5 star for the before section, ~3 star for the after section.
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  • Clair Sharpe
    January 1, 1970
    This is the story of Max, Pip and their son Dylan. Dylan is 3 years old and has a rare form of brain cancer. He has had an operation and chemo which has shrunk the tumour but for several months has been desperately ill after complications, breathing only with the aid of a ventilator in the paediatric intensive care unit. When Leila, the consultant looking after Dylan, breaks the news to Max and Pippa that his tumour has grown and his condition is terminal, it is the end of their world. She advis This is the story of Max, Pip and their son Dylan. Dylan is 3 years old and has a rare form of brain cancer. He has had an operation and chemo which has shrunk the tumour but for several months has been desperately ill after complications, breathing only with the aid of a ventilator in the paediatric intensive care unit. When Leila, the consultant looking after Dylan, breaks the news to Max and Pippa that his tumour has grown and his condition is terminal, it is the end of their world. She advises against further treatment which may prolong his life, telling them even with treatment he would be severely disabled.However, Max and Pip do not agree on the medical treatment of their son. Max believes that they should do anything to give Dylan as much of a chance of life as possible, taking him to America to try proton beam therapy and being sure that his life should be prolonged, whatever the quality. Pip agrees with the doctors - she has sat with him daily through his treatments and believes he should be allowed to die. This heart-breaking disagreement is told from both parent's point of view and my goodness what an emotional book this is!Clare Mackintosh is well known for her thrillers - I loved both I Let You Go and I See You. This is such a different book from her and it is extraordinary! I was lucky enough to receive a surprise advanced readers copy through the post and I was thrilled. Divided into two books, the ARC is entitled "Before" and "After". "Before" tells the story of Dylan, Pip and Max up to the point of the court case and the decision the judge makes. "After" tells the story of the family after the court case and is oh so clever! I literally gasped when I realised what Mackintosh had done and couldn't get through it quickly enough.The author gives life to Max and Pip and I truly felt I was living their story with them, thinking about it as I went to sleep and then again when I woke up. Their decision is an impossible one to make and you can't help but place yourself in their shoes and think about what you would do.A powerful book, this is a stunning achievement. Knowing now that the author has been through something similar, makes it a brave decision to tell this story. I was so emotional reading this, that I did wonder why I put myself through it! Despite having the ARC, this is one that I will be buying for my forever shelf.
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  • Melanie Lewis
    January 1, 1970
    I hope my review can do After the End justice because it is a remarkable book. The lasting impression I'll take away with me is the depth of love between a parent and their child. Ms Mackintosh expressed this love so eloquently it became a tangible thing. It wasn't just the emotions between Pip, Max and Dylan, but also between Pip and her parents, Max and his Mum. It was an exceptionally articulate reminder of how blessed I've been to experience unconditional love from my parents and also a gent I hope my review can do After the End justice because it is a remarkable book. The lasting impression I'll take away with me is the depth of love between a parent and their child. Ms Mackintosh expressed this love so eloquently it became a tangible thing. It wasn't just the emotions between Pip, Max and Dylan, but also between Pip and her parents, Max and his Mum. It was an exceptionally articulate reminder of how blessed I've been to experience unconditional love from my parents and also a gentle nudge to cherish one's own children, even when they're driving you insane, because who knows what tomorrow may bring? Although I cried in places whilst listening, it was never in sadness; they were tears of hope, love and joy at the exquisite beauty of Ms Mackintosh's words. It takes an author of great distinction to take on such a difficult topic, especially when they personally have experienced a tragedy of such mammoth proportions, and turn it into a novel of overwhelming tenderness and hard fought optimism. In Dr Hallili we met a force for good, a shining example of the dedication and devotion of so many NHS staff. Here again I was offered the opportunity to remember everything that is superb about the NHS and why we should appreciate, rather than denigrate and complain about the service, because it truly is an awesome thing. I am filled with humility having finished After the End; this book about the traumatic death of a child is inspirational, full of love, generosity, tenacity, hope, gratitude and kindness. If that doesn't seem to make sense, you need to read it. After the End has burrowed deep into my soul and will remain there for a very long time to come.
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  • Rae
    January 1, 1970
    Check out this review and others on my blog: https://thriftybibliophile.comAfter the End by Clare Mackintosh is a story of love, loss, and ethics in the face of a terminal childhood illness.Max and Pip are the dream couple: they love each other, they finish each other’s sentences, and they can’t imagine life without the other.Their relationship is strong and impenetrable until their young son, Dylan, is diagnosed with cancer. Dylan’s diagnosis puts Max and Pip on opposite sides of a boxing rink. Check out this review and others on my blog: https://thriftybibliophile.comAfter the End by Clare Mackintosh is a story of love, loss, and ethics in the face of a terminal childhood illness.Max and Pip are the dream couple: they love each other, they finish each other’s sentences, and they can’t imagine life without the other.Their relationship is strong and impenetrable until their young son, Dylan, is diagnosed with cancer. Dylan’s diagnosis puts Max and Pip on opposite sides of a boxing rink. They both want what’s best for Dylan, but they can’t agree on what that is.Meanwhile, Leila, Dylan’s doctor, is caught in the middle of their firefight. She sees Dylan on a daily basis and struggles with the emotional drains of her job. She, too, wants what’s best for Dylan.After the End by Clare Mackintosh was such a mixed bag for me. I adored the first half of the book. I thought it was brilliant and engaging; however, the second half of the book was a real head-scratcher.After the End is open-ended. It doesn’t have a continuous storyline, but instead explores the eventualities of both Max and Pip’s choices. While I love the concept of an open-ended book, the execution was hard to follow. I didn’t understand what the book was trying to do when it started jumping between different endings, so I was completely baffled for a long while. It was like reading a choose your own adventure book without the directions.That said, the storyline was heart-wrenching. As a mother, I can’t fathom having a child diagnosed with cancer or having to make the tough choices Max and Pip were faced with. The emotions in the book were captured with perfection. I really felt for Max and Pip as they navigated through their wins and losses.If you enjoy books that don’t follow a concrete storyline, check out After the End by Clare Mackintosh. If you’re prepared for the second half of the book, it won’t catch you off guard as much as it did me!Thank you to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/ 5 starsAfter the End is my fourth book by this author.Clare Mackintosh is known for writing British suspense or psychological thrillers. I think that before reading this new book it is very important for the reader to know that THIS BOOK IS NOT HER USUAL GENRE.I honestly am not even sure how to rate this book. This book was hard to read. And IMO it will be very hard for many people to read. I hadn't read the book blurb before starting this book. But thankfully I did read the author's note a 3.5/ 5 starsAfter the End is my fourth book by this author.Clare Mackintosh is known for writing British suspense or psychological thrillers. I think that before reading this new book it is very important for the reader to know that THIS BOOK IS NOT HER USUAL GENRE.I honestly am not even sure how to rate this book. This book was hard to read. And IMO it will be very hard for many people to read. I hadn't read the book blurb before starting this book. But thankfully I did read the author's note at the beginning of the book. Otherwise I would have been completely unprepared (which I don't recommend).This is what the story is about: (view spoiler)[Max and Pip's 3 year old son has a terminal brain tumor. They are going to court to decide whether to let him die. (hide spoiler)]I'm honestly not sure if I would have picked up this book if I had known what it was about. The writing was strong. And I feel for the author, since she is writing partially about something that she went through. But this story is completely heartbreaking.The book begins with a prologue set in court. We have three narrators: Pip and Max (a husband and wife - 1st person POVs). And Leila (a doctor- 3rd person POV).I actually liked Leila's chapters the best. The author did a great job at writing her POV. It was interesting. And it was less depressing. The legal part of the story was also quite intriguing. But the rest of the first half of this book was just too much for me.In addition to the subject matter this story is told in an usual way from the halfway point. (view spoiler)[From the halfway point the story is split into two stories. We alternate between two realities of what might have happened depending on the verdict of the court case. (hide spoiler)] I'm not sure what I think about the way the author chose to tell this part of the story. At first I didn't really enjoy this method of telling the story. It sort of grew on me as the book went on. But it was definitely a very unusual choice for the author.Overall, I think that it is very important to know what type of book this is before starting this book. This is definitely not the type of book that I usually read. It was well-written and meaningful. But it was really sad. Also the actual end was a bit different and open-ended. Not sure how to fell about that since I thought that we would finally find out what really happened.Thanks to edelweiss and G.P. Putnam's Sons for allowing me to read this book.
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  • Meggy
    January 1, 1970
    FAVOURITE BOOK OF 2019If you are lucky, you stumble upon books that change your life. Don't mind my dramatic tone... In fact, do mind, because today's post is special. I couldn't put down my feelings, I couldn't come up with a review. I read a book, and I felt different. Isn't it magic when it happens? I can't thank Little, Brown UK enough for letting me read a copy of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Dear Claire,When we, book bloggers, finish a book, we often start FAVOURITE BOOK OF 2019If you are lucky, you stumble upon books that change your life. Don't mind my dramatic tone... In fact, do mind, because today's post is special. I couldn't put down my feelings, I couldn't come up with a review. I read a book, and I felt different. Isn't it magic when it happens? I can't thank Little, Brown UK enough for letting me read a copy of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Dear Claire,When we, book bloggers, finish a book, we often start thinking about the best way to review it. We want our opinion to be clear. We want to convey what happened to us between the opening and the ending page of the author’s work.When I put down After The End, I understood a review wouldn’t do. This is why I am writing you a letter. Not as a book blogger. Not as a serial reader. As a woman talking to another woman.Thank you.I escape life through crime fiction. I find it easier to face dead bodies and monsters rather than life’s unfairness and hardships. There is a protective wall between me and the rest of the world. Well, actually, this is no longer true. There was a wall. After The End attacked it, each word hitting the stones, creating a hole. A small one at first. A mouse escape. Just enough for me to feel my heart tighten when I met Pip and Max. It grew bigger when the antiseptic smells of the hospital reached my nose and Dylan appeared in front of my eyes. Rain passed through the hole when I got to meet Leila.Page after page, I felt my defenses fall. How do you protect a child from an invisible illness leaving traces on a frail and pale body which should be hitting a ball in a park or eating cookies while playing cards with his parents? We never hear from Dylan himself, and his silence, contrasting with his presence, immensely felt throughout the novel, dug a winding path on my cheeks for my tears to follow.I am not one for crying. I read Me Before You without even blinking. I remember thinking ‘What kind of monster am I?’ But I now know I wasn’t at fault. Neither was the book. I just needed a voice, faces, roads written in a different way. I needed a key to open the door to the fears I was keeping at bay. Your writing is that key.I sound very dramatic, don’t I? After The End is dramatic. It is a tragedy. It is one of life’s coins. And like every coin, it has two faces. Tragedy can’t happen without happiness. Pip and Max cling to this happiness, holding those moments as weapons against Dylan’s tumor. They hold on to each other in the most beautiful and heartbreaking way. They gave me hope, even in the darkest chapters. You breathed life into them, you surrounded them by it, then threw them in the coldest night. Car trips. The exhaustion of caring for someone. The rain. The meals. Long nights. Love. You crafted them so well I could almost touch them. They left the pages to sit next to me as I was reading. No one can make me believe that you didn’t pour your entire heart into this novel. It shows. It shines through.A power couple faced with an impossible decision. A terminally ill son, and its fate in their hands. Is life with constant medical support worth living? Is there hope? Is it torture? Is it selfish to wish for more time? The tragedy of our human condition. We don’t have the answer. There is no right answer.It doesn’t mean that you don’t have to choose. It only means you will carry a weight for the rest of your life. A red scar burning your soul. What happens when parents disagree? Then the court comes in. Law talks. Like medicine and science, the law must look at the facts, at the best decision at a given time.Oh, I had never wished for a man and a woman to find each other again more than I did for Pip and Max. The way you handled their differences, the slow and inevitable gap forming between them. The bridge left by the love they have shared, share, and always will.Am I rambling? Probably. Pardon me, for my mind is crowded with thoughts and my chest is filled with emotions threatening to make me explode. (I am writing this right after having finished the book. Before I change my mind and chicken out.) I don’t want to chicken out. I want to earn a millimeter of the courage the novel holds, a milligram of the strength it took you to write After The End.Because it needs saying. Thank you for dealing with such a current, painful topic. Thank you for creating amazing parents, fascinating second characters, and a door to a world that is just one step from any of us. Thank you for the respect with which you treated both sides. Thank you for walking both sides of the argument with a clear mind, moments and thoughts so spot-on they scared me.The blogger inside me wants a word… Would I recommend After The End? Yes. A million yes.Why? Because the writing can pierce the hardest armor. Because everyone needs a Pip, a Max, a Dylan, a Leila, to try and understand, to ponder, and most of all, to feel. This book is the closest you can get to the topic of survival, and what it means to live.But you, dear Claire, doesn’t stop there. Because life doesn’t stop, does it?No, you give us the unpredictable, insane, and indestructible chapters of the After. Pip’s choice. Max’s choice. Parallel roads never to cross path. Each offers its load of tears, grief, doubt, and struggles. But then the unthinkable happens. Hope. Survival. Again, this word. My heart, after having slowed so much during the pivotal time, started beating again. It hurt, it smiled, it jumped, it stopped. With a prose I can’t praise enough, you gave me a taste of what a phoenix goes through when it rises from the ashes. It is not new, it carries its past, and it goes on. Life may not be what you wanted it to be, but it is what it is. June 2019. I have found a profoundly moving novel, a stunning and tragic tale. My favourite book of the year. Thank you for breaking my wall and reminding me crying is okay, feeling is okay, and that turning your head the other way doesn’t make it disappear, it only pushes your further away from reality. I didn’t know I needed this kind of book until I found yours. I am glad I read it. I will read it again. I will talk about it and ask my friends, acquaintances, and even strangers to give it a chance. Because an exceptional book needs eyes to dance its choreography.Ps: no, I didn't only cry. I went through so many emotions that a book hangover doesn't cover the way I feel right now!
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  • Kelly Van Damme
    January 1, 1970
    Hi and welcome to FromBelgiumWithBookLove where I’ll be talking today about Clare Mackintosh’s new book baby. I’ve been a fan of Clare’s ever since I Let You Go, which, like Clare’s other books since, was an outstanding psychological thriller. With After the End, she goes down a different road, and frankly, one I most likely wouldn’t have joined her on if she were not the author I know her to be. Sometimes you pick up a book because you’re drawn to its premise, because the synopsis is right up y Hi and welcome to FromBelgiumWithBookLove where I’ll be talking today about Clare Mackintosh’s new book baby. I’ve been a fan of Clare’s ever since I Let You Go, which, like Clare’s other books since, was an outstanding psychological thriller. With After the End, she goes down a different road, and frankly, one I most likely wouldn’t have joined her on if she were not the author I know her to be. Sometimes you pick up a book because you’re drawn to its premise, because the synopsis is right up your street; sometimes the premise is more like a side alley off your street but you pick up the book anyway, because you love the author’s writing and you have faith in the author’s ability to capture and hold your attention. The latter is exactly what I did and I didn’t regret it for a second.After the End is the story of Dylan. He’s just a toddler, but he has a brain tumour and he is being treated for it in hospital. That fact alone broke my heart. There is just something so unfair about someone so small having to go through all that.The first part of Dylan’s story is told from the perspective of his parents, alternating with the perspective of his doctor. It is really quite refreshing that the focus is not only on the desperate parents of this very ill little boy, but also on his doctor, who is just as desperate and equally powerless, especially when it turns out that the treatment is not working, on the contrary, the tumour has grown.The pivotal moment in the story is when Pip and Max have to decide what to do: let their boy go and make sure he doesn’t have to suffer, or go to whichever lengths necessary to prolong his life, regardless of what kind of life that would be. I’m pretty sure that the toughest choice for a parent is whether to keep their child alive and quite possibly suffering, or to say goodbye earlier. As an outsider, my choice was pretty straightforward: stop the treatment, don’t have the surgery that will cause at least some brain damage, you can’t save your child, you’ll only postpone the inevitable and sure he’ll live a bit longer, maybe even a lot longer, but odds are that he’ll have to live with pain, he’ll never be independent, he’ll never be happy. To my mind, the choice to continue to fight a lost cause is a selfish one. But then I am not a parent, let alone one with a terminally ill child.For the first time, Dylan’s parents don’t see eye to eye, and in the end, the case is brought before court and an impartial judge must decide. Here is a sliding doors moment where the story becomes two stories: one where the judge rules in favour of further treatment and one where the judge orders all treatment to be stopped, except palliative care. It was both fascinating and heart-breaking to see what happens in each story, with Dylan, and with his parents as a couple. I kept wondering if in the end they would end up in the exact same place, if there would be some kind of serendipity, is there such a thing as “meant to be”, are things written in the stars, is there any kind of providence. A heartbreakingly beautiful, poignant and thought-provoking tale of love and loss, of guilt, of wanting to do the right thing and not knowing what that is, of life, of losing yourself and finding yourself, of failure and success and finding happiness in the little things, of living the worst possible thing that could happen and fighting through it, of finding a way to pick yourself up and piece yourself together again.This is a story that makes you ask yourself what you would do, whether you’re a Pip or a Max. The fact that the author has lived through a similar loss, which I knew about before reading After the End, added an extra layer to my reading experience, and made it even more heart-breaking and poignant.Highly recommended.
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  • Laurel-Rain
    January 1, 1970
    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, an 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.My Thoughts: After the End is an emotional story that spotlights a family in crisis. Alternating between the perspectives of Pip, Max, and even Leila, the doctor in the middle of it all, we follow the before and after moments of Dylan’s life.We are thrust into a legal battle, a media circus, and an emotional tug of war that heightens the intensity of the crisis and the family pain.I couldn’t stop reading the story of Pip, Max, and Dylan, although the leaps on the timeline were a little confusing. We went back and then forward so often that I felt a little lost…until I decided to just flow with the events and immerse myself in the moments.As the story came to its conclusion, I did feel connected to the characters and will not forget them. 4.5 stars.***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley.
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