About the Book
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?
After the End is the story of Max and Pip, a happily married couple with a young son, Dylan. But one day Dylan gets ill and a decision has to be made about what to do next, about what might be best for him and they just can’t agree.
After the End is a stunning novel. It looks at Max and Pip and how they cope with looking after a very ill child, how they cope in their different ways and how they view things so differently. Max needs to earn money so he continues to go to work, often this involves travelling but he is always thinking of his family. Pip has given up everything to be there with Dylan. She is always with him in the hospital, she looks after him there and she is the one that bears the brunt of seeing how ill he is day in, day out. They both adore him, they both want what’s best for him but they’ve had such a different experience of his illness that when the time comes to make the ultimate decision, they are just completely unable to agree.
I knew going into this book that it was going to be emotional but I wasn’t prepared for how much it would make me cry. The exploration of what it is to deal with a loved one being so ill was written so incredibly well. I don’t have children but I cared for my mum in the final months of her life and I know how much of a toll is takes on a person. Because of this I was on Pip’s side for the most part because, for me, it’s the person who is there the most that really understands the suffering, who understands that however much you love someone you sometimes have to step away and think what’s best for them. What I didn’t expect was how much reading Max’s point of view would affect me. At first, because of my own experiences, I thought he was selfish for not listening to his wife more. But then I could see that he loved Dylan every bit as much as Pip and he believed that what he wanted for their son was right, just as much as she thought she was right. It really made me pause.
The novel follows Max and Pip’s perspectives but we also get to hear from Dylan’s primary doctor, and that was really interesting. It added to the novel for me to know how she experienced the situation and how she felt about it all. The things that she goes through felt very real and believable.
So many issues are raised and dealt with in this book that are so relevant to modern society. Clare Mackintosh sensitively and intelligently deals with all of them so well, she covers so many angles and really makes you think about how you feel about these things, and what you would do in a similar situation.
After the End isn’t an easy read but it’s such a stunning novel and I’m so glad I read it. I definitely recommend this one, but I also recommend keeping a stash of tissues nearby to soak up the tears that will inevitably fall.
Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.
After the End is out now and available here.