Tag Archives: Chris Whitaker

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.

Sunday Matters: A Visit with the Eldest

Sunday Matters

Yesterday we met my son in Solvang. We four (the pup joined us) met him there because it’s about an hour away from him. They have shops, restaurants and Danish bakeries galore! They also have a quaint little book shop. It was so good to see him. Editing note: WordPress got rid of the Classic Editor and the Block editor leaves a lot to be desired. Images and things may be out of whack.

Brother and Sis
The pup in a wooden shoe!

Right Now:

Church and youth group. Possibly a quick lunch afterward and then a long walk for the pup.

This Week:

We are leading up to Easter aren’t we? My daughter requested a typical ham dinner, like we always have. I am now vegetarian so I will do all that and then make myself a tiny Salisbury Steak made out of Impossible Burger meat. The recipe is here but it has a ton of ingredients. I am going to just use it as a guide. All the sides should go well with my addition.

This week I will shop for all the ingredients. Last Easter our Honeybaked Ham meal barely arrived in time. It was such a weird, sad time. No church services. Nobody outside. The delivery guy was way late, it was delivered Saturday at 9pm. Then I worried because the ham was not cold. It was fine but this year will be quite different.

I have a day off from work this week for Cesar Chavez day. If I can help it, I plan to do nothing on Wednesday. Just read and lounge around. Maybe make a special dinner, the kind that cooks all day long.

I’ve got nothing else going on this week.

College Decision:

She will be attending Missouri State University this fall for their BFA in Musical Theatre program.

Missouri State Acceptance Photo
Emma will be a Bear at MSU!

So many things contributed to this. I can’t even tell you. All I can say is that you want your kids to be treated well and you want to know that wherever they go, they are wanted and will be cared for and that she will get the best training she can get. That’s what it came down to. Yay!


I finished The New Neighbors. I should have that review up soon.

I am about to pick up this beauty which was delivered to my door this past week. Thank you Henry Holt!

We Begin At The End

And then, Care and Melissa announced this read-along. #The GreenMileAlong begins in April. I went online and found an ebook version that has all the installments so I am ready to go!



I am finishing up WandaVision and then my son wants us to watch Barry.

Our Netflix plan still has a DVD option attached to it which was grandfathered in. It’s good for those movies that aren’t streaming. I had The Big Chill set to arrive but my daughter was playing the song Maniac the other day and it occurred to me that she has never seen Flashdance! So, we have that coming in instead.

Grateful for:

  • The upcoming Easter services. We will probably attend the Saturday before because of potential crowds but it’s not Easter without a church service.
  • The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service has announced that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year will be automatically extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021. We already filed but we ended up owing quite a bit more than last year. Not a fan of that but yay for not having to pay it to soon.

Are you reading anything really good right now? Will you be joining this Stephen King read with us? I’ve read The Green Mile before but it was when it first came out so a re-read is welcomed.