The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter was graciously sent to my by Grove Atlantic a few weeks ago. Its a rather slim book, one that I knew I could pick up and read fairly quickly. You guys. This book! I finished it within an hour and had so much to process once I was finished...for such a small book it packs quite an emotional punch, especially as a mother.

Written in snippets and short paragraphs, The End We Start From reads almost like a journal. Other characters are named simply by their first initial and the narrator, the mother of baby Z, spends more time talking about her emotions and surroundings than actual or details of events taking place. I love books written this way, where I feel a more realistic connection with the main character and maybe less so with the setting events taking place. I felt completely immersed in the cocoon of warmth between mother and baby, their lives reliant solely upon the other despite the chaos surrounding them. With my own baby still newly here I felt so much of what the mother was feeling first hand, that dreamlike state nursing gives you in the early still dark morning hours, how that connection between yourself and this little being is so absolute. For me, it made this story all the more real and emotional.

"The gasping latch, and his breathing slows in the dark. The world inflates and deflates with him, a giant bellows." p. 52

Paired with the dread and panic surrounding them, the unknown of the everyday, there is so much hope wrapped up in baby Z as his mother marvels at his every growth and achievement. I really thought the ending was so perfect. R, the husband, I could honestly have cared less about. He seemed so unimportant, especially when he leaves them behind. Reading through each passage of hope and perseverance between mother and child made this story less of an apocalyptic doomsday type story and more of a study on how a mother's love for her child and a child's absolute dependence on their mother transcends all things. The world falling down around you and this love remains constant. How beautiful is that?

I highly recommend this story. Its beautiful, precise and brilliantly written. I cannot wait to read more from Megan Hunter! Thank you Grove Atlantic for my copy!


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