Book Review: I’m Thinking of Ending Things (Iain Reid)

So last night, I finished reading Iain Reid’s debut novel, I’m Thinking of Ending Things. Well, after completing this novel, I’m thinking that I shouldn’t have read this before I went to bed.

The novel’s plot surrounds an unnamed woman who is on a road trip with her new boyfriend (Jake) to meet his parents for the first time. The woman has been receiving mysterious phone calls from her own number. She rationalizes trying to share this information with her new beau but doesn’t want to get him involved. Especially since, as they drive, the woman thinks about how she is “thinking of ending things”. Poor Jake. Right? WRONG. Jake’s childhood home, a run-down farmhouse, is extremely eerie and Jake’s parents are unnerving. Soon, the novel takes a strange twist as the pair visits an abandoned high school during a snowstorm.   And then everything happens.

I saw this book at Indigo at the beginning of the summer and it was positioned next to Hollie Overton’s Baby Doll. Since I finished that book this weekend and LOVED it, I felt like this book was something I’d move to the top of my reading list.

Once I started this book, I was a little hesitant to continue. For starters, as I always do, I added my current book to my Goodreads page and I instantly saw the negative reviews.   Not off to a good start.   Then I realized this book was half a road trip thriller; my last road trip “thriller” Listen to Me was not something I enjoyed.   That was strike two but since this book was a short read (a little over 200 pages), the fact that I never start a book without finishing it and since Ian Reid is a Canadian author (represent!) I continued reading!   Boy, am I glad that I did!

The novel is narrated by our unnamed girlfriend and then randomly juxtaposed with italicized people discussing a grizzly tragedy that they discovered. It’s a really interesting way to narrate since, even before we know the general path the plot is taking, we know at some point, it ain’t gonna be good!

So, a few words of warning before reading: the beginning is painfully slow.  As they drive to Jake’s family farmhouse, the unnamed woman does most of the talking. She rambles on about a mystery phone call that she receives and she reminisces about how they met.   Nothing really happens until around the one-hundredth page when the arrive at the farm-house. I know that’s a long time to keep reading blindly but after this hurdle, the rest of the book is a blur, ominous and comes together quickly.

That being said, I LOVED the ending. I finished the book and was completely confused but once I went back and re-read the last ten pages, I was baffled by how it all came together (right down to the title!).

This book will not be enjoyed by anyone who is looking for a straightforward thriller with a definite plot, but for someone who is looking for something completely different and unsettling then you HAVE to read this book.


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