Author: Chris Whitaker
Published by: Henry Holt and Co. on Mar. 2, 2021
Format: Paperback, ARC
Source: Raincoast Books
Book Rating: 10/10
There are two kinds of families: the ones we are born into and the ones we create.
Walk has never left the coastal California town where he grew up. He may have become the chief of police, but he’s still trying to heal the old wound of having given the testimony that sent his best friend, Vincent King, to prison decades before. Now, thirty years later, Vincent is being released.
Duchess is a thirteen-year-old self-proclaimed outlaw. Her mother, Star, grew up with Walk and Vincent. Walk is in overdrive trying to protect them, but Vincent and Star seem bent on sliding deeper into self-destruction. Star always burned bright, but recently that light has dimmed, leaving Duchess to parent not only her mother but her five-year-old brother. At school the other kids make fun of Duchess―her clothes are torn, her hair a mess. But let them throw their sticks, because she’ll throw stones. Rules are for other people. She’s just trying to survive and keep her family together.
A fortysomething-year-old sheriff and a thirteen-year-old girl may not seem to have a lot in common. But they both have come to expect that people will disappoint you, loved ones will leave you, and if you open your heart it will be broken. So when trouble arrives with Vincent King, Walk and Duchess find they will be unable to do anything but usher it in, arms wide closed.
Chris Whitaker has written an extraordinary novel about people who deserve so much more than life serves them. At times devastating, with flashes of humor and hope throughout, it is ultimately an inspiring tale of how the human spirit prevails and how, in the end, love―in all its different guises―wins.
Beautiful, poignant, and incredibly heart-wrenching!
We Begin at the End is a tragic, moving, emotionally-charged novel that takes you into the lives of a handful of people, including the unforgettable, 13-year-old, self-imposed outlaw, Duchess Radley, whose worlds have been irrevocably changed by a fatal accident that occurred thirty years prior that left one of their own dead, another incarcerated for three decades, and the rest haunted and struggling to survive the inevitable repercussions and fallout.
The prose is lyrical and expressive. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are complex, scarred, and conflicted. And the plot is a compelling, sobering tale of life, love, loss, family, friendship, grief, guilt, denial, secrets, abuse, neglect, self-preservation, violence, redemption, and survival.
Overall, We Begin at the End will make you think, it will make you cry, and it will resonate with you long after the final page. It’s an impactful, enthralling, hopeful tale by Whitaker that uses extraordinary character development to weave a combination of an impressive, intricate mystery and a heartbreaking, bittersweet love story all steeped in an abundance of tragedy and pain.
This book is available now.
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Thank you to Raincoast Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.