‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ – Iain Reid

So it turns out that I’ve read this book twice, pretty much within 12 months of each other without realising it! (And I’m still none the wiser as to what’s going on!) Actually, that’s not true – I do ‘get’ this book but it does take some digesting. It’s described on its blurb as an’ unsettling, psychological horror.’ It certainly is unsettling but I don’t think I’d quite class it as the ‘horror’ genre although aspects of it are so dark and sinister.

 The story is told mainly in the main characters’ voice. (We don’t actually know her name.) She is travelling in a car with her boyfriend, Jake, to meet his parents. She is thinking of ending things but through her monologue, you know that she is having an internal argument within her self whether to or not. Jake is certainly an ‘odd’ guy and gets odder when they get to his parents’ farm. The book is kind-of divided into three sections – the car journey, the farm and later, the deserted school. The farm section is creepy and makes you realise that all is not well with any of the characters but you just can’t put your finger on exactly what is wrong. My brain was chugging away nineteen to the dozen trying to make sense of what we were being told, what we were seeing and what we were hearing certain characters discuss and do. The author cleverly slips in little one liners here and there that make you stop in your tracks and go, “What?!” He even tells us through the narrators that we are not to believe what we read –

“Movements, actions, they can mislead or disguise the truth. Actions are, by definition, acted, performed… Actions are constructions.”

 When we reach what I think of as the third section of the book, set in what appears to be a deserted high school, this is when the creep factor really takes off. As ______ and Jake are kissing in the car, they see a figure watching them from inside the school. This made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, especially when Jake goes to investigate, leaving ___ by herself in the dark, isolated car park.

 Throughout the book, we have ‘flash forwards’ to a crime that has been committed. You know that somehow, this must involve Jake, ____ or one or other of the minor characters we meet on the way such as the creepy custodian at the school or the girls from the Dairy Queen who were laughing at them when they called in for lemonade. If you are reading this book, pay close attention to these ‘flashes’ as they give valuable clues as to what is going on.

 “__ If only we’d see how serious it was. If only there’d been some signs. There are always signs. People just don’t do that.

 __ This wasn’t a rational person.

 __ That’s true, that’s a good point.

 __ He’s not like us.

 __ No, no. Not like us at all.”

 Now I’ve read this book twice (unintentionally), I have to say that things are a lot clearer the second time round and I had a few more ‘a-ha’ moments when certain things were said or done. This book reminded me a little of Chuck Palahniuk’s ‘The Fight Club’, which also made a lot more sense on its second reading. And just like that book, ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ won’t appeal to everyone’s taste but the ones who do like something different, darker and edgier, I’m pretty sure you’ll really enjoy the journey it takes you on, like I did.

Advertisements Share this:
Like this:Like Loading...