After the End is the fifth book by Clare Mackintosh and was released in 2019. It is about the parents of a young boy who disagree with each other about the decision to provide treatment, or end treatment and switch to palliative care for their son.
The first half of this book is emotionally very heavy. Each chapter is either from the point of view of Pip (the mother), Max (the father) or sometimes Leila (the doctor). It takes you through the journey of the son Dylan being in hospital, and the care he receives, up until the court case that is brought against the hospital.
I found the first part of the book to be very emotional and mostly well written, although there were a couple of occasions when I was reading a chapter based on the doctor and I got jerked out of my focus, it seemed like the writing went from being in first person to instead naming Leila and no longer being in first person. It jolted me a bit and I lost my focus.
Overall the first half of the book was absorbing and I enjoyed it. Unfortunately this all ended when I got to the second half. The style of writing changed and at each change of chapter I was jolted back out of my focus. I won’t say why, as I don’t want to give spoilers, but I just found the writing really off putting and I also found myself starting to dislike characters who I had previously empathised with and understood.
I will be completely honest and admit that I could only read half a dozen more chapters of the second half (the “After” section) before I lost all interest in the book and didn’t actually care what the outcome was any more.
I feel this book had a chance of being really good, a book that makes you think and consider both sides, but the second half of it just ruined it for me. I feel the author copped out of making a decision and it stopped the storyline flowing. This is not a book that I would recommend to anyone, which I feel horrible saying, but I feel unsatisfied with how things turned out and frustrated at the amount of time I spent reading it when I could have been reading something else.