Release Day Review: I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid (I'M MIND-BLOWN.)

Tuesday, 14 June 2016
I'm Thinking of Ending Things, by Iain Reid
Publication: June 14, 2016, by Galley/Scout Press
Format: Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Thriller, Mystery
Pages: 224
Format: ARC
Source: BEA/Publisher

In this deeply suspenseful and irresistibly unnerving debut novel, a man and his girlfriend are on their way to a secluded farm. When the two take an unexpected detour, she is left stranded in a deserted high school, wondering if there is any escape at all. What follows is a twisted unraveling that will haunt you long after the last page is turned.
In this smart, suspenseful, and intense literary thriller, debut novelist Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Reminiscent of Jose Saramago’s early work, Michel Faber’s cult classic Under the Skin, and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is an edgy, haunting debut. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, this novel pulls you in from the very first page…and never lets you go.

My Thoughts:

Dear Friends and Fellow Reviewers,

One month ago, I was fortunate to attend BookExpo America 2016 and was especially fortunate to grab a copy of Iain Reid's newest novel (by the way, he's Canadian in case that makes things even better for reviewers like me!), I'm Thinking of Ending Things. This was highly anticipated by me and I was meaning to grab a copy of this one as soon as I stepped onto the show floor during that amazing experience. Fellow book lovers, this could easily be your next favourite book of all time. Pull the covers up, grab a cup of coffee (to help you stay awake), turn your phone off and just live in the whimsical mind of Iain and his story that really resembles a lot of other psychological thrillers I've read, but is completely different at the same time. ITOET is unlike your usual read; I was so damn scared that I actually had to put the book away for the night and continue it the next morning.

I WAS SCARED. There was this weird part where the main character (we never discover her name) is sleeping in her room and she wakes up, finding that there is a man outside of her window, and she only sees his torso because he is so tall. I thought that I would pee my pants. I don't think I'll ever forget about that scene, honestly. And those kind of memorable scenes or excerpts are the ones that stay with you and have you believe that the book is more beautiful than one can ever imagine. Yeah, there are a lot of complaints that the bookish community has been giving in terms of the beginning being very loooong, but WHO CARES? This is a short story in general and we readers are just left shocked by the end.

"Getting to know someone is like putting a never-ending puzzle together. We fit the smallest pieces first and we get to know ourselves better in the process." (61)

This is a simple, but complex story at the same time. We have two main characters and they legitimately are just stuck together for the story. The majority of the plot takes place in Jake's car, and the main character, who we eventually discover to be his paranoid girlfriend, is in this car with him, heading over to his parents' house. The parents actually have nothing to do with the story, but they just add that extra creepy vibe to this all. Wait until the high school. That's where my eyes came out of their sockets, kind of. Involved with creepy paintings/photos, abandoned high schools and eerie janitors, this all makes so much sense when we put the puzzle pieces together. This is the kind of story that high school English teachers would want their classes to analyze and write those five-star essays on. There is so much to talk about in relation to this completion of beautiful pages.

You are not reading this book for the romance, but for the completion of the story and how a mastermind like Iain Reid is able to put a story together like this. There are plot twists and such a twisted ending that I am still in shock to this very moment. You realize that there are several meanings to this book and we must pay very close attention to the format, because IT MEANT SOMETHING ALL ALONG. The title does too, of course. I couldn't help but wonder where this was being taken place, and then I realized that Canada was probably the answer, and I got the chills again. It's horrible when you read a book so close to home. *shivers*

"What if suffering doesn't end with death? How can we know? What if it doesn't get better? What if death isn't an escape? What if the maggots continue to feed and feed and feed and continue to be felt? This possibility scares me." (83)

I am in love with this story. Of course, I would never want it to occur in reality because that's just sickening, but I loved everything about it. Being the first book I picked up after returning home from BEA, I am so satisfied and so obsessed with the ending and everything that this book has to offer for readers. Honestly? This is not YA, but there isn't a ton of mature subject matter except for the creepy-jeepy stuff. I'm scared to this day, but I guess that the only thing we could do is move on. Agh. And then we have the overflow of life lessons here and I realize that I cannot trust anyone and now I'm starting to shake and become overwhelmed and... that quote I cited above is started to get me a little more tense. No worries, though. You haven't read this one so I'm betting that it doesn't affect you like it did me. Once you know the meaning...

I'm Thinking of Ending Things is both a suicide note and also something more. We are not reading it because our main character is not named and we do not know much about her except for the elements of depression and stress that she deals with. I AM SO SHOCKED AND MESMERIZED BY IAIN'S WRITING THAT I JUST WANT TO MEET HIM AND TELL HIM HOW AMAZING HE IS. I'm sure you would think the same. So, I'm thinking of ending things right now. (Ending the review, obviously). 

*A review copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*

What is your favourite psychological thriller? Do you ever get these moods where you decide that you want to read a specific kind of genre of books?

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