”Compelling and clever, tender and true. I can’t stop thinking about it.” -Liane Moriarty, author of Big Little Lies
I couldn’t agree with Liane Moriarty more. She describes the novel, "After the End" in the spot-on, brief and eloquent fashion that only a great writer could.
From the back cover: ““From New York Times bestselling author Clare Mackintosh, a deeply moving and page-turning novel about an impossible choice - and the two paths fate could take.
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.""
Again, spot-on, and kudos to the writer of that description!
The author takes us on an emotional ride from the very beginning of this story in the prologue, where we find ourselves in a courtroom, as Dr. Leila, who has been responsible for the care of Max and Pip’s beloved son, Dylan, anxiously awaits a verdict. From there, we enter the “before” phase of the book; chapters in which we are introduced to Max, Pip, Dylan, Dr. Leila and a brilliant cast of characters who will make you both chuckle and cry as we get to know them along the way. Author Mackintosh does a brilliant job of introducing these characters and drawing you in, with empathy and understanding. Even the characters who are “the bad guys” have reasons for their actions...whether we find them excusable or not.
The sad medical case of Max and Pip Adams son, Dylan, is revealed in a tender, heartwarming way as his parents reflect both on his past life and his current journey. The writing is tender enough to elicit compassion from the reader, but not so dark and sad that it's too difficult for most readers to keep turning the pages.
After moving through many chapters in the “before” phase of this book, we reach the “after” section...the pages that are written about how the characters lives are affected after the agonizing decisions for Dylan’s care have been made and implemented.
Although we may think we can foresee what the future, and the repercussions of the final decisions on how to handle Dylan's fragile life unfold, Mackintosh does a beautiful job of taking us along on the roller coaster ride that is life. Her beautiful voice rings so true, in what I thankfully can only imagine is a parent’s worst nightmare. There is no sensationalism here, no agenda...just the honest voice of hope and heartbreak, optimism and endurance, and wanting the very, very best for the child you love.