Tuesday, 9 July 2019

After the End by Clare Mackintosh

Max and Pip are the strongest couple you know. Only now they're facing the most important decision of their lives - and they don't agree.
As the consequences of an impossible choice threaten to devastate them both, nothing will ever be the same again.
But anything can happen after the end . . .

I have read Clare Mackintosh’s previous books which I find myself recommending continuously but it is always one of those hard things when an author you love tackles a different genre, you feel loyal to the author and want to read what ever they right but there is always that little niggle in your mind thinking will this work.
Having just lost my husband I am finding it hard to pick books to read as I find there are a lot of triggers in books like there are with songs that can set me off but there was something about After The End that really appealed to me.
The story follows parents Pip and Max whose son Dylan has a brain tumor and are now faced with the most unbearable and impossible decision they need to decide if to stop the treatment and concentrate on palliative care making Dylan comfortable in the last days of his life or take him to America for Proton Beam therapy which MAY give him a little longer but will not improve his quality of life. If making this decision isn’t hard enough what makes it even harder is that they both do not agree on the final decision.
Well this storyline will hit you to the core and will open your eyes to the painful and devastating choices people are having to make on a daily basis. Although this was such a desperate and bereft storyline it actually was also a storyline full of hope and the journey of self-healing.
The book is told in two parts the first part where we meet the family and their wonderful Dr Leila ( who I will come back to later in the review) we see how their lives revolve around Dylan at the hospital and the thought process that both Pip and Max go through when time comes to make the Impossible decision. The second part of the book is the After the decision and this is where the book threw me off course briefly as it follows to paths of how Pip and Max’s lives play out after taking both decisions. I personally felt the first half of the book was stronger and more compelling, I found the storyline flowed a lot easier and the authors voice we have come to know in her previous novels could be heard through the first half. The second part did take a while to get to grips with keep chopping and changing between the two paths and at one point my attention did waiver slightly but the idea was great as we live the “What if “question that they both would have been thinking.
I loved Leila’s character in this book and the situation with Dylan really had an effect on her, I was so sad that her character slipped away in the novel as I looked forward to her appearance and I thought it was a great insight into how the professionals can feel in these cases.
The author has shown such incredible strength in writing this book with the storyline being so close to her heart and this is easy to see as  it is written with such tenderness and compassion as well as showing significant insight not just on the emotions and feelings but also on the day to day struggles and the way your life just becomes a little bubble revolving around the hospital.
This was a powerful and poignant read that touched my heart and soul and made me want to give the author, the characters and everyone who is facing or has faced this scenario the biggest cuddle and wrap them up in cotton wool.   

Hardback                  Kindle


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