What Just Happened? | A Book Review of "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" by Iain Reid
Title: I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Genre: Horror? Thriller? Suspense? 🤷♀️
Hi friends. I'm back with another hot take on the latest books I've read. I spotted this one in one of the Facebook Groups I'm in called "BookTok Baddies" Judge ya mama! Don't judge me. Anyway, someone had posted it talking about how confused and creeped out they were by it. So naturally I was a curious kitten and had to check it out. That was on Friday night. It's now Tuesday morning. I finished it on Saturday morning. I needed the extra few days to full process what TF I just read and to go watch the movie on Netflix. The latter was a mistake. Big mistake.
FYI: If you're thinking about watching the movie on Netflix, DO NOT. I repeat: DO NOT. It was hot garbage. It was a dumpster fire. It literally took out all of the best and creepiest moments from the book to add in a little ballet number and a musical moment. I was disgusted. Guys, why are we singing? Why are we twirling? Why are we throwing red handkerchiefs? WHAT IS GOING AWN?!
But I digress. We aren't here to talk about the movie, even if the movie was a six pack of donkey butt. We are here to talk about the book. The debut novel by Iain Reid. The reason for this post. Let's get into it.
*Creepy music begins*
I’m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks. It lingers. It’s always there. Always.
Jake once said, “Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.”
And here’s what I’m thinking: I don’t want to be here.
*Record scratch* First of all, Gwen Stefani was correct. This ish is bananas! I'm pretty sure this is the shortest synopsis for any book that I have ever read. It really explains nothing, which is more than likely the point. It's hard to talk about this book without giving things away. But, I'm still going to try.
The story is told from the perspective of Jake's unnamed girlfriend as they take the long and snowy drive down a one lane road to meet his parents. They both suffer through an awkward dinner with his clearly mentally unstable parents (there were so many red flags during that dinner) and then make the trek back home.
Honestly, truly, at first I was yelling at ole girl to get out of the car. She kept going on and on about how she wanted to end the relationship with poor Jakey. I couldn't understand why she would even bother to meet his parents if she didn't see the relationship going anywhere significant. She hemmed and hawed about ending things on the snowy drive back home, but then they make a quick detour to dispose of some frozen lemonades they bought. Yes. Frozen Lemonade. They were eating (drinking?) Dairy Queen Frozen Lemonades in a blizzard. I love ice cream and frozen treats as much as the next kid, maybe more, but I'm pretty sure my fingers would fall off if I'm spoon feeding myself frozen treats in the middle of a snowstorm. Red flag number 501. I was also irritated that they only consumed a few bites (sips?) of the Frozen Lemonades before wanting to throw them away. I mean hello? Why we wasting money here? Red flag number 502!
They make the detour to throw the drinks away and things got creepy. Like hardcore creepy. Well...creepier, because there was already a light film of creepy over the entire story from the beginning. Now, if you've been paying even an ounce of attention in class, you'd know that the dark and creepy is my wheelhouse. I love reading about the ugly, cob-webby corners of the human psyche. It's fascinating, it's uncomfortable, and it really explains how far the human mind can go.
So, I settled in thinking things were about to get interesting. And they did. But I was SHOOKETH. Like completely shooketh. Especially towards the ending when there were close to three pages of the same phrase repeated over and over. Honey, I was confused and I was SCARED. I kept having to check over my shoulder to make sure that the boogeyman didn't find his way into my house (even though I was sitting on the couch facing the front door) to come kill me. I also had to make sure my husband wasn't about to randomly materialize behind me to ask me why I was sitting in the dark. Since he loves to pop up on me out of nowhere when I'm reading the creepiest parts of stories. At this point, I'm pretty sure he has some type of creep radar. So he knows the perfect moment to pop up and scare me silly.
Anyway, this book took a turn I wasn't expecting. Like at all. Honestly, it left me thoroughly confused for a good while. I was already done with the book by the time my brain had fully processed the first part. The ending took me having to let out a quick scream (part of the process) and then sit in silence for a good twenty minutes to let the rest marinate in my brain follicles. When it finally clicked, I let out a "OH SHOOT!" and then reread the last part to make sure. I'm still not 100% sure that I know what happened, but I'm at least 90% of the way there.
For a debut novel, this is insane. I'm rating it 5 stars just because of its ability to jumble me up as badly as it did. I'm not sure if it was the work of a genius, or complete nonsense but either way color me impressed. Mr. Reid, sir, I will send you the bill for the therapy I now need to fully process this book.
I think I am really starting to love the stories that spend the entire time letting you think one thing is happening and then completely change the meaning with one sentence or moment towards the end. The books that can skillfully pull this off are usually my favorites.
Iain Reid was able to keep me in the dark for pretty much the entire book (and for a little while after). His writing forced me to sit and think about what I had just read. It was a sophisticated nod to the complexities of the human mind and the profound effect loneliness can have on it.
There were moments when Jake was unnecessarily preachy. It felt like he was constantly trying to prove how much smarter than everyone else he was, but other than that, I have no complaints about this book.
No I lied.
I do have one complaint: Mr. Reid, how dare you make me feel like an idiot! 😂 This book made my brain feel like dial-up internet. I had to question my actual grasp of the English language for a second because WTF(udge)
Do I recommend this book? I have been yelling from the rooftops about this book since I finished it. So far, I've convinced a few people to add it to their TBR. So yes, absolutely! Abso-frickin-lutely! Especially since we are coming up on the Halloween season. What better way to creep yourself out than with this book? Just don't watch the movie. If you listen to nothing else I've said in this post, listen to this: STAY FAR AWAY FROM THE MOVIE. Or at the very least, read the book first. If you watch the movie first, I guarantee it'll make you not want to read the book. Please heed my warning. If you want it grab it, you can do so here:
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So there you have it folks. If you're looking for something creepy to indulge in for the Halloween season, add this to your list! It'll have you checking over your shoulder to make sure no one is sneaking up on you as you read. If you do decide to check it out, please come back and let me know what you think. I would absolutely love to discuss it with you. You can catch me on Instagram or Facebook.
Ps. Quick drinking game suggestion: take a shot for every time I mention "creepy" in this blog post.🙃
Happy Reading Babes! ❤