Book Review: We Begin At The End By Chris Whitaker


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.


Overall I really enjoyed this novel.

Some elements I found to have put me off this novel initially was the consistency in the prose of how they began. I’m not sure how to word it but I see others have as well. However I really did enjoy it.

This 13 year old Duchess who has annoying habit of continuing to repeat how she is the outlaw. Yes, we get it you like to be a troublesome girl worse than your mother but you do not have to keep repeating it. The adults in the novel comment constantly how grown up she is. She really isn’t with the behaviour. It is as if there are two personalities;

One is the silly girl who is trying to act all that.
The other side of her is the one that is very caring towards her 5 year old brother, Robin.

Duchess does not seem to have a guardian appointed figure. I feel as if she is living in her late-mother’s shadow. The novel was enjoyable however it does move at a very, very slow pace given the length of this novel it could have moved faster.

It was interesting how the other aspects of this novel was a murder mystery which was intriguing. I just wished the writing style was consistent and more straight forward.

4/5 Stars

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