Review: We Begin At The End

We Begin At The End

We Begin At The End
By Chris Whitaker
Henry Holt and Co., 9781250759665, March 2021, 384pp.

The Short of It:

If you are looking to be entertained by some unforgettable characters then you’ve found your book.

The Rest of It:

Duchess Day Radley is a thirteen year-old outlaw. You see, the Radleys have a history and Duchess knows it and has no problem reminding others of it every chance she gets. She is a pistol through and through and won’t allow anyone to bully her family in any way. This includes her young brother Robin and her wayward mother, Star.

Duchess spends her days looking after her brother, mostly because her mother has a tendency to pass out drunk in the font yard. Everyone in town knows Star, and they knew her sister Sissy too, the one who was killed by a drunk driver years ago and the man who did it was just released from prison and lives right across the street.

As reputations go, Star’s is not great although her heart is in the right place. She tries to do right by her kids, but seems to always fall short. That’s why there is an entire cast of characters looking out for her, one of which is Walk, short for Walker, who is Cape Haven’s Chief of Police. He and Star go way back. He does what he can to help her out, but one night, he’s not able to and the entire town is affected by the tragedy.

Small town life. Tragedy. Unforgettable characters. The hope of new beginnings. When I picked up We Begin At The End, I just knew within the first few chapters that this was going to be a story that would stay with me for a very long time. First off, the writing is beautiful. There were some passages that I read out loud just to hear the words. What pushed this book over-the-top for me, in a wonderful way, are the characters. Duchess is all edges, hard and bristly but you can’t help but love her even when her “tell it like it is” demeanor puts a wedge between her and anyone trying to get close to her.  Walk is kind-hearted, honest when he needs to be but also a realist and loyal to a fault. I’ve got to mention Thomas Noble. He’s a gentle young man who befriends the tough Duchess Day Radley and loves her regardless of all the pushback that she throws his way. What a lovable kid. He reminded me of Owen Meany in a lot of ways. I could go on and on about the characters.

“You’re the toughest girl I ever met. And the prettiest. And I know you’ll probably hit me, but I think my world is infinitely better because you’re in it.” ~Thomas Noble

This is one of those reads that you savor. You turn the pages slowly because you don’t want your time with these people to end. You read a passage and then find yourself staring off into space pondering what you just read. This story broke my heart in so many ways but man, did I love it. It’s still early in the year but this will probably be my favorite read this year.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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Sunday Matters: Easter Happiness

Sunday Matters

Do you remember Easter 2020? What a dark time that was! Andrea Bocelli had that concert which was live from the Duomo di Milano. It was so beautiful but it was eerie how deserted the streets were there, as they were here. I’ve included the link for it above. I remember watching it and thinking how he didn’t look well and many weeks later it was revealed that he sang while battling COVID. What a time that was.

Right Now:

Everyone is back at church now and can enjoy Easter services in person! We actually attended Easter service last night because I feared that the crowds would be too large today.

Today, we just want to take a long walk, put the food on to cook and have a nice dinner. It should be very relaxing.

This Week:

Nothing else matters this week except my first COVID vaccine appointment for this Tuesday! Finally!! I plan to go there, running and waving my arms all around in anticipation. I can’t tell you how happy I am that the day is finally here. My husband received shot #1 last Thursday. No reactions at all. In fact, his arm wasn’t even sore.

If some of you are having trouble finding an appointment, select Walmarts and Sam’s Clubs are now offering appointments as well. This is good since most everyone will be eligible come 4/15.

Reading:

I finished We Begin At The End. What a book! My review posts tomorrow. Don’t miss it. The book is just too good.

I am currently reading Vera by Carol Edgarian. If I want to stay on track with my reading and posting, I need to finish this baby by Tuesday.

Vera

Watching:

While browsing Netflix I came across a series called The Sinner. It’s a detective show featuring Bill Pullman. The first season is way out there and contains a lot of sex and triggering violence. About halfway through we were going to give it up because some of the scenes are very disturbing but at the same time, the story is so twisty and strange that you cannot for the life of you figure out why this young mother hauls off and kills someone on a public beach. Maybe the other seasons are less intense but we stuck with it and the ending was very good.

I heard on the news that Knives Out will have sequels, at least two and Netflix has picked up the rights to them. I really enjoyed the first movie and Daniel Craig has agreed to stay on.

Grateful for:

  • Bug repellent. Last year we had a horrible time with baby mosquitoes. This year, we’ve had hardly any rain but they are already out and already attacking.
  • Science. Need I say more?

What are your plans today?

Chatting with friends about books and life…