After The End is one of those gloriously moving stories that puts everything into perspective. Whilst reading it, I felt every other thought or stress in my brain quieten, as I fully immersed myself in this tear-jerking story.
Max and Pip have an incredibly hard decision to make when their three year old son; Dylan, has another set back in his fight against cancer. At this point, I was already emotional. A young child with a brain tumour breaks my heart… they’re supposed to be running around, exploring and discovering new things everyday, not stuck in a hospital attached to tubes and unable to breathe without support.
Each day, Pip drives to the hospital at the crack of dawn and stays with Dylan late into the night. She talks to him, she reads to him, she cleans him… but his previous surgery has already caused life changing effects for Dylan – he doesn’t speak and he has very little movement, how much more can this little boy take?
With the results from the latest scan in, Mackintosh now gets the couple to think about the future and what’s best for Dylan. I found the scenes in the hospital particularly moving, they felt vivid and intimate.
“What If” is the theme throughout this book and whilst I don’t want to spoil the plot for you, as believe me, part 2 was an unexpected surprise, I will say that Mackintosh has created a story like none I have ever read. The writing is her usual superb style in that it explores the feelings of well developed characters, has a touch of rawness and somehow also manages to have plot twists, which took me by complete surprise, given the fact this is a contemporary read rather than a thriller.
The reason this book stands out is how Mackintosh chooses to explore the “What If” perspectives – a very clever and unique approach to it.
I raced through this book, even though I did find it emotionally hard to read, because I was so curious about the ending. How would Mackintosh choose to end this story? You’ll have to find out!
After The End is out now in hardback and eBook versions from Sphere.
Until next time, Chloé x