Category Archives: After the End

Review: After the End by Clare Mackintosh

Title: After the End by Clare Mackintosh
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Contemporary, Literary Fiction
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


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 is a captivating, poignant novel.

Pip and Max Adams have been happily married for several years when an unimaginable diagnosis turns their world upside side. Their 2 year old son Dylan has a brain tumor and he has recently undergone surgery and chemotherapy. Unfortunately an unexpected side effect of chemo lands him pediatric intensive care and his doctor Leila Khalili presents them with a grim prognosis for recovery.

At first both Pip and Max are in agreement that they will do anything to prolong Dylan’s life. Max feverishly researches treatments for his son while Pip is more concerned with Dylan’s quality of life. While informing Leila of their decision, no one is more stunned than Pip when she disagrees with Max’s choice to seek further treatment. Max then embarks on a public campaign to raise money for his legal expenses and to help offset medical costs if he wins the case. Pip is quietly shattered as she spends as much time as possible with Dylan. With their son’s future in a judge’s hands, what will happen to their family in the aftermath?

Pip is a flight attendant who re-adjusted her career in order to be at home with Dylan as much as possible. She suffers a fair amount of guilt that she did not seek medical attention for her son sooner. Never imagining the outcome of Dylan’s treatment, she has been given compassionate leave from work  so she can be with him as much as possible now he is in hospital. Pip never wavers from her heartbreaking decision to not prolong Dylan’s life and she is stunned by her husband’s vitriol.

Max relocated to the UK from the US after marrying Pip. His job requires quite a bit of travel and when home, he works long hours so he has not spent as much time with Dylan as he would like. Despite the family’s dire situation, he has no choice but to return to work after his son is transferred to intensive care. Never once thinking  that he and Pip would be on opposite sides of Dylan’s care, Max thrusts the family into the spotlight as he pursues his case to get his son further treatment.

After the End is an emotionally compelling novel with a clever storyline and sympathetic characters who must make an heartrending choice about their young son. After the courtroom scene,  Clare Mackintosh  chooses an innovative storytelling device that is initially disconcerting.  However, it does not take long to become completely absorbed in the gripping story that is unfolding. Despite the somber subject matter, this deeply affecting novel comes to a hopeful and bittersweet conclusion.  A very unique novel that is utterly fascinating and impossible to put down. Highly recommend.

Comments Off on Review: After the End by Clare Mackintosh

Filed under After the End, Clare Mackintosh, Contemporary, GP Putnams Sons, Literary Fiction, Rated B+, Review