Book Review: After the End by Clare Mackintosh

After the End by Clare Mackintosh

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Title: After the End
Author: Clare Mackintosh
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publish Date: June 25, 2019
Genre: Contemporary
Series: n/a
My Rating: 3/5


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 by Clare Mackintosh
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Books-a-Million


A happily married couple are given the devastating news that their son has a brain tumor, and his prognosis is terminal. His doctors recommend end of life care only. His parents are split on what to do. One agrees with the doctors and the other wants to pursue other treatments. Since the parents cannot agree, the decision is left to the court system.

Told with alternating points of view – Pip (mother), Max (father), and Leila (doctor). The novel is also split between before and after. The “before” part tells the family’s story up until the court’s decision. The “after” story is using alternative scenarios – the court ruling with the mother and the court ruling with the father. Pip and Max both have valid reasons for their decisions, and both believe they are doing what is best for their child.

I have mixed emotions about this novel. I feel the topic is relevant and thought-provoking, but I was not a fan of how the story was told. I enjoyed the alternating POVs of Pip and Max, but Leila could have been dropped. Some aspects of her story were interesting, but, overall, the book could have worked without her POV. My main issue was the alternate scenarios. They were sometimes confusing, and just didn’t work for me.

This novel deals with a controversial topic. In After the End it’s interesting that the parents could not agree on a medical decision, so it was forced into the courts. I imagine this could be a great book club read. Though it may cause some uncomfortable conversations.

An emotional contemporary family saga. This is a difficult book to read, and not one that everyone will feel comfortable reading. Heartbreaking and tragic.

I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: After the End by Clare Mackintosh

  1. As you said, this is timely and relevant, but not sure if it is a story that I could get into. It would all depend on how it was told and this sounds like it could have been better. Great review Darinda.

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