My Rating ~ Four stars
RELEASE DATE: June 2019
Received from: Hachette Australia
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.
Thank you so much to Hachette Australia for providing me with a copy of After the End, in exchange for an honest review.
Max and Pip are living a life no-one would wish on their worst enemy. After being told their 2 year old son, Dylan, has a brain tumour, PICU becomes the home away from home they never wanted. When the doctors give Max and Pip devastating news, they have to make an unbearable decision….they both want what is best for Dylan, but they each have an opposing idea of what that would entail. Forced into a situation where they can not agree, they will both need to build a case for a judge to decide Dylan’s future. After the judges ruling, the story continues in a Sliding Doors style format, exploring the question of whether, when you’re making the biggest decision of your life, you’ll ever really know if it was the right one, and what your future would have been like if you’d made a different choice.
My daughter is the same age as Dylan in this story, and that made After the End an even more emotional read than it would have been. Viewing Max and Pip’s pain through my own eyes as a parent and thinking about my own family making such an impossible decision was quite harrowing. Reading the author’s note at the back almost broke my heart, this must have been an exceedingly difficult book for her to write.
I loved the format this book took with the exploration of both paths that could have been taken, and all the twists and turns that happened along the way, it was so clever. There were some truly fantastic characters, from Dr Leila in PICU, to couple Tom and Alistair with their sweet daughter, Darcy. The narrative alternates between Max and Pip’s point of view, and Leila gets several chapters of her own too. I found myself understanding, if not always agreeing with, almost every characters actions. Grief and fear are emotions that overtake the best people and make them do things they’d never expect. The way everyone’s story wove together in After the End was often surprising but ultimately both beautiful and heartbreaking.
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