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I'm Thinking of Ending Things

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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.

In this smart and intense literary suspense novel, 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, *“*your dread and unease will mount with every passing page” (Entertainment Weekly) of this edgy, haunting debut. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, I’m Thinking of Ending Things pulls you in from the very first page…and never lets you go.

224 pages, ebook

First published June 14, 2016

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About the author

Iain Reid

7 books3,477 followers
Iain Reid is the author of two critically acclaimed, award-winning books of nonfiction. His debut novel, I'm Thinking of Ending Things, was an international bestseller, and was translated into more than a dozen languages. Oscar-winner Charlie Kaufman is writing and directing the film adaptation for Netflix. Foe is Reid's second novel.

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5 stars
29,219 (21%)
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49,672 (35%)
3 stars
38,214 (27%)
2 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 24,879 reviews
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,604 reviews5,985 followers
May 18, 2016
Jake and his girlfriend are on a road trip to go and see Jake's parents at their rural farm.
Palm Springs commercial photography

The point of view is from the girlfriend and inside her head we find out that she is thinking of 'ending things' with Jake. Jake is perfect and smart and all that stuff but it's time to just move on. Except for the fact that we are on our way to the whole meet the parents thing.

Once we get to the farm..we get to meet the parents.
Palm Springs commercial photography

With a smidge of this:
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Then we find out some stuff and thangs. (I'm totally trying to not spoil anything here.)

After the trip Jake and girlfriend head out home.
In a snow-storm.
Because we have to set the mood and all that jazz.
Jake decides that he just must have some Dairy Queen. In the middle of a snowstorm. When he has to work the next day.
At the Dairy Queen there are some female teenage weirdos..including one that should have made girlie jump out of that car and run.
Palm Springs commercial photography

Then the ending. That frigging ending.
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I read it twice the other night when I finished this book. Still didn't understand it.

I read it again this morning before writing the review. I'm sorry. A whole bunch of people are really liking this book. I LOATHE that stupid ending.

It's not like I can't handle weird stuff.
Palm Springs commercial photography

But damn..that still has me mad enough and frustrated enough that this book is getting the big old one star. If I had a physical copy I would possibly punch it. In it's stupid little book face.
Yes, I'm a tad ragey. (I totally wish I could say JUST how bad without spoiling the book.)
Stupid book is stupid.

Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review.

Palm Springs commercial photography
Now I've been trolled told before that I read books wrong when I one star their stupid asses them..so I really may have just tackled this one that is completely over my head. Check out my friend Trudi's review. I ain't gonna lie. She reads way smarter books than I do and she loved this one.
Profile Image for Jennifer Masterson.
200 reviews1,168 followers
August 3, 2016
Holy shit that was brilliant!!! What a mind f*ck!!! I have to tell you that I thought this was going to be a 1 or 2 star book for me until the very end. I mean like the last 15 minutes of it.

I'm not sure whether to give this book 4 or 5 Stars. I'm going with 4 for now because the book was filled with so many things that made my stomach turn. I get why the journey was like this now. I'm so ready to hit the fifth star button!

I listened to the audio version of the novel. I think this might have played out better on audio, but I can't tell you why until you finish the book.

You can't give up on this one because the ending is crucial. If you are going to read this book you MUST stick with it!!!

Recommended only for people who like completely twisted reads with unreliable narrators.
Profile Image for emma.
1,864 reviews54.3k followers
July 31, 2023
I am not, in theory, a cheesy person.


I shy away from earnestness. Genuine expressions of emotion upset me. The last time I had to have a serious and feelings-based conversation I did everything to prepare for a hermit-esque lifestyle of solitude in the mountains somewhere short of buying a plane ticket (ultimately I recalled that I don't much care for nature).

But all of that changes when I really, truly love a book.

In my head, and to the most trusted people in my life, there is an upper echelon of books I refer to as "the books of my heart." Of the 1,246 books I have marked as read on Goodreads, only 89 are true five stars, and the books of my heart (I really can't believe how corny of a name that is, like how did that come from me, a rock person with Christmas-reject coal for a heart) are a careful selection of even that.

This is a coveted title typically given to the works of Sally Rooney, or dark volumes of adult fantasy, or quirky young adult magical realism.

In short: beautifully written and unique books that mostly take place inside brains, with traces of magic and humor and love.

So this book, a horror-ish novel intensely driven by its narrator's mind that would, if written by a lesser author, be little more than a vessel for its twist, may seem an unlikely choice for that lot.

But it makes sense to me.

Bottom line: I can't think about this book too hard without wanting to read it againagainagain.


my skin is crawling and i want to scream and i think this might be a 5 star read.

review to come / at least 4.5 but who are we kidding

currently-reading updates

i read the first 20 pages of this last night before i went to sleep and got so scared i had to switch to a romance novel.

i will be reading exclusively in daylight from now on.
Profile Image for ELLIAS (elliasreads).
489 reviews39k followers
October 16, 2020
This book slapped me in the face and stabbed in the back and I liked it.

Basically, this book fucking slaps stabs. Short and sweet.

If you like existential road trips, creepy farmhouses, after dark schools, being anxious, tense vibes, and books that can read forward and backwards— this one's for ya.


Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,605 reviews10.7k followers
August 21, 2023
Wow. Wow. WOW. Wooooow. Wwwoooowww. Woow. Wow!

I first learned of I'm Thinking of Ending Things when Kayla, from Books and Lala, mentioned it on her YouTube channel. Based on her reaction to the experience, I knew I wanted to pick it up.

Since watching that video, I successfully avoided all spoilers, reviews and honestly, even the full synopsis.

On a whim, I decided to start the audiobook when I saw it available through my local library.

First, let me just say, the audiobook was amazing. In my estimation, it's probably the best way to experience this story.

I am not going to say a thing about the content of the story. I wouldn't want to spoil one single sentence for anyone who hasn't read it yet, but wants to.

It's unconventional, it's weird, it's dark and it shook me. When the big reveal happens in audio, I was out walking my dog and was so chilled, I literally had to stop walking.

I genuinely thought this was brilliant.

Regardless of the final outcome of the novel, throughout the entire story I was creeped out.

It's such an odd experience, because there is nothing overtly scary happening, but the feeling of dread that I had the entire time was pretty epic.

Overall, I think this audiobook is an amazing experience. If you are looking to be played and have everything you thought you knew flipped on its head, pick it up.

Profile Image for Maggie Stiefvater.
Author 81 books168k followers
February 15, 2018
The back of this book merely promises that you will be afraid and not know why. There are no other details. Funnily enough, that is the most accurate summation of this novel possible.

I don't want to say too much about this novel, because the puzzle and atmosphere are really the ghoulish, psychological fun of it. It's a deeply unsettling novel; that's the point of it, and as such, it's brief — I finished it in a couple of hours.

It's certainly not for everyone. Read the first chapter (you can find previews on most of the big sites) and sample the wind. If you like the beginning, the rest of the book matches. I'd recommend it for folks who like Gillian Flynn, I think, and perhaps those who liked E. Lockhart's latest offerings.
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,480 reviews79k followers
March 28, 2017
I don’t write a lot of reviews where I give a book under 3 stars; I’d like to think its because I typically know what type of book I like to read, but every now and again I get it completely wrong and I have to write an embarrassing review on why I disliked a novel that everyone else seems to rave about. This was one of those books. I was immediately requesting this one on NetGalley the second I saw it, as it sounded right up my alley. Creepy, suspenseful, vague-YES! However, I’ll say that my not liking this book was not reflective on the writer’s abilities and talent; the book was very well written in style and he is clearly very bright. My problems all lie within the plot itself.

“If I had your number, we could talk, and I’d tell you something funny.”

There’s not much I can say about the plot; there’s a reason the blurb is so vague. Jake and “The Girlfriend” are heading on a trip to his parent’s farm and weird things start happening. Then they leave and stop off at an old school and more weird things happen. That’s the gist of it; coming in at 224 pages this one is very brief, and I think if the plot had been fleshed out a little more it might have worked for me. It all felt so BAM BAM BAM DONE! I was left holding my kindle thinking “Um. What?” It takes until 40% of the book for it to even get going; up until that point they are just talking in the car about a lot of weird stuff (ex. “You are the new man. How delicious cannot forget, special taste. Return the turn flavor.”). Yes, I guess it makes sense once you get to the end, but that was my other big problem; I had this book figured out within the first chapter. If the ending isn’t obvious to you, you very well might enjoy this book much more than I did. Even though I didn’t give this book a glowing rating, I’d like to end my review with a list of things I did like about the book as the author clearly put time and energy into this book and all reviews are worthy of that.


The author put together some very intelligent narrative, probably too intelligent for me and proves why I wasn’t a good fit for this book. He clearly researched the meaning behind many big words to make Jake as verbose as he is.

From about 40-90% this book had me sucked in. These parts were gloriously creepy, especially all the farm house scenes. If the entire book had been of this nature I would have given it 5 stars.

Without giving away too much, I really appreciated how the author managed to connect the ending with the beginning; that was a really neat touch that I’m sure was difficult to construct.

*Thank you to both NetGalley and the author for providing me a copy even though it wasn’t my favorite book of the year. I appreciate how publishers and authors take that chance knowing many people will not write glowing reviews and that they don’t stone us in our sleep.
Profile Image for Trudi.
615 reviews1,452 followers
July 18, 2016
Oooooh, this is a tough one to review, because it's not going to be for everyone, and I also don't want to give too much away. It's a slim volume that packs such a WALLOP! that creeps up on you, it would be super easy to spoil it for someone if you weren't careful.

Many people have this filed as 'Mystery' or 'Psychological Thriller' and it's sorta a blend of those, but way closer to 'Psychological Horror' for me than anything else. It's an unsettling, paranoid mindfuck that at first appearances seems pretty slow-moving and innocuous. There's a young couple on a road trip to visit the guy's parents at their secluded farmhouse, and the girlfriend is "thinking of ending things". In her head she's ruminating on the course of their courtship and mulling over the nagging feeling that it's time to pull the plug on a relationship whose expiration date is past.

But she also has a secret. Dun-dun-DUUUUUN.

But the boyfriend -- who starts the novel normal and quite nice -- starts to appear odd and off kilter as soon as we get to the farmhouse. Then things inexorably creep to majorly weird and unsettling with the parents by the time we get to dessert.

And just as you're processing what's happening in that farmhouse and freaked the hell out because you don't know where the threat is coming from, the book will move to its final act in a deserted high school.

This isn't a book about what HAPPENS. It's one of those HOW WE GET THERE. It's a book of atmosphere and tension and a narrator who absolutely takes the cake on unreliable. It's a paranoid chant in places, and I was literally gripping the book as I was reading it because everything started to feel so portentous, so HEAVY, that the most horrible thing could happen at any moment. All bets are off. As a reader, when I am in the hands of a writer like that, and at their complete mercy, there is no other place I would rather be.

It was horror god Nick Cutter who brought my attention to this book first when he tweeted this about it:
"Creepy as hell. You owe me a few fingernails, Reid, because I've bitten them off reading your book!"
When Mr. Cutter endorses a book like that I will do just about anything (and I do mean anything people) to get my hands on a copy. Fortunately, I didn't have to kill anybody (and lose precious reading time getting rid of the body since my woodchipper is in the shop). The publisher provided a review copy for free, no violence required, no cleanup in aisle four. Thanks Simon and Schuster Canada!

I want to compare this short read (which you should do in one sitting for maximum impact) with other great stories of the same ilk, but I don't want to risk spoiling anything. I'm Thinking of Ending Things is psychological, subtle, mind-bendy, and utterly unnerving. I can't wait to read this one again to enjoy its construction and appreciate even more the flawless execution of its moving parts.

Iain Reid, you are on my radar.
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,263 reviews2,438 followers
January 30, 2023

This book is nothing less than amazing. Iain Reid tells us the story of Jake and his struggles. It is a difficult book to read during difficult times like this. Some parts of it delude our conscience. Some of you will feel that there are some disparate threads in this novel that will never come together. It is ok if your mind can't construe what exactly happened in the end. This is one of the books you will have to read twice to grasp it fully. The second time you will have to read it backward, as the author suggests in the final chapter, to get a different experience altogether. I will recommend you try hearing the audiobook in the first read and reread it backward using its physical book. Both will give you a different experience, like reading two different books.

What I learned from this book
1) Noetic Science
When I went through the author's opinion of thoughts, I was profoundly impressed and remembered a book I read about Noetic Science some time ago. In philosophy, noetics is a division of metaphysics dealing with the study of mind and intellect. Noetic Science is a new field that deals with human consciousness and thoughts. It tells us that thoughts and souls have mass. It also explains the meaning behind the phrase mind over matter. It digs deeper into both philosophical and parapsychological aspects of thought. The experiments they have done are also fascinating. But it isn't easy to decipher it if we try to approach it from a logical perspective, and much more solid research is needed if we have to take this branch more seriously.
“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.”

2) How to remove a negative thought from our mind?
Prevention is always better than cure. It is better if we can always keep our mind and body involved in something positive. If we keep our minds vacant, negative thoughts will inevitably start growing in it like weeds in unused farmland. If a negative thought starts creeping up in our minds, it is tough to remove it. It is challenging but possible only if you show the courage to put in the extra effort for it. The author is telling the same concept in this novel.
“I’m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks. It lingers. It dominates. There's not much I can do about it. Trust me. It doesn't go away. It's there whether I like it or not. It's there when I eat. When I go to bed. It's there when I sleep. It's there when I wake up. It's always there. ”

3) How can you know more about a person?
It isn't easy to know more about others at the first meeting itself. It will take some time for the people with character to open up more about them. So you should never ask about the personal lives of others unless you are close enough to that person so that they willingly open it up to you. There are some people who belong to the other end of this spectrum. It is always better to keep a slight distance with such people who open up everything about them, including their tiniest details about their personal life in the initial conversation itself.
"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."

My favourite three lines from this book
“Just tell your story. Pretty much all memory is fiction and heavily edited. So just keep going.”

“Is intelligence always good? I wonder. What if intelligence is wasted? What if intelligence leads to more loneliness rather than to fulfillment? What if instead of productivity and clarity, it generates pain, isolation, and regret?"

“Depression is a serious illness. It's physically painful, debilitating. And you can't just decide to get over it in the same way you can't just decide to get over cancer. Sadness is a normal human condition, no different from happiness. You wouldn't think of happiness as an illness."

What could have been better?
Some readers won't like the narrative style of the author in the initial part. This is a novel that slowly grows on you.

5/5 This is not an ebullient work of fiction that can be considered as a page-turner that will be liked by almost everyone who reads it. Still, if you picked up this book to read after knowing it, I request you to persist reading, and please don't be dogmatic and elusive to DNF it after the initial few pages. You will love this brilliant creation if you show the patience to finish reading it.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,534 reviews9,935 followers
July 30, 2020
Holy crap on a cracker!

I put off reading this book for such a long time because there were so many negative reviews and I don't see why! I freaking loved this book! It blew me right way! I got if from the Overdrive library and I'm going to be buying it to keep.

Okay, so like the narrator is this woman that I have no idea who she is, name-wise. Unless I missed it, they never say in the book. She's on a road trip with her boyfriend Jake. He is taking her to meet his parents for the first time and they live a few hours in the country on a farm.

Through-out the ride, SHE, talks about her thoughts. She tells about this man that calls her on the phone all of the time but she hasn't told any one. She hasn't even told Jake. He says scary things, bizarre things.

And, SHE, is kind of weird herself. She keeps talking about ending it with Jake and not ending it with Jake and people and places and weird stuff. I actually thought this book was about teenagers when I started it but these are two adults. Jake works in some kind of lab and he's super smart.

There is a certain point that I started to figure things out. I thought a few different things at first but then the stranger it got it started to click into place.

I was on the edge of my seat to get to the bottom of everything I'm still confused on a few things but it's okay, I never figure everything out in books.

This one was creepy and cool and weird and freaky deaky and I just loved it. There are some meh parts but the cray outweighs the meh!

Awesome peeps! Awesome!

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Deanna .
687 reviews12.5k followers
July 6, 2016

I listened to the audio of this one and at first I didn't find it too bad. A woman and her boyfriend, Jake are on their way to his parents for dinner. She is like the title says.....thinking of ending things.

"You will be scared. But you won't know why"

That quote from the book is very true. I was so confused and felt very uncomfortable for almost the entire book. I think this book might be too smart for me because I still don't think I understand it. I wonder if reading the actual book would have made a difference in this case.

This book did give me a reason to think about audio vs. book and how easily things can be heard wrong. For example, I thought the girlfriend was saying "I should have told him about the collar". Similar sentences were said a few times before I realized she was saying CALLER not COLLAR. it wasn't until she said something about her phone that I realized my mistake. I thought she was wanting to tell him about a collar. I know that makes me sound dumb. Like really? why would she be talking about a collar. Because this book was an odd one "collar" seemed like a possibility. Had I been reading the book I would have seen the spelling and it wouldn't have been an issue. However I have still been enjoying audio books and this was the first time that has happened.

I was on edge for almost the entire time. I'm not saying it wasn't interesting, because it was at first. I enjoyed learning about the couple, the visit to the farm, etc.. But then everything started weirding me out. Especially the narrator. The girlfriend was thinking about some weird calls she was getting and the messages this person was leaving. When the narrator did the voice of the person leaving the messages my skin started crawling. By the time she repeated it the third time I was freaked right out! I don't know if it's just me but that voice made me shudder.

To be honest I almost dnf'd this one. However, I thought I would give it another try and so I did. I did want to find out what happened. But then I didn't get the ending at all. I listened to the ending a few times and I still didn't get it. I have my theories about what happened which I won't write because on the .000001 percent chance that I'm right I wouldn't want to ruin it.

Maybe it's just me and I missed something. I wasn't always sure who's point of view I was hearing. Maybe in the book the chapters have headings which would definitely make it easier to follow.

I am giving it 2.5 stars because it was right about one thing.......I was scared and didn't know why. I just wish I understood more of what was happening, especially the ending!!

I think this will get a variety of ratings. I can totally understand how some people would really like it. But it just wasn't for me.

2.5 stars
Profile Image for jenny✨.
578 reviews833 followers
September 15, 2020
This was so bad. Convoluted, protracted, confusing—even after reading the Internet's interpretations and conspiracies and rave reviews, I still can't bring myself to appreciate any part of this story.

Any book that requires me to spend at least an hour on Google delving into lengthy comment sections in order to make even some semblance of sense? No thanks. Not to mention I'm MIGHTY sick and tired of pretentious male douchebags being conflated with existential depth.

I was excited the whole time to just be done with this novella. And now that I am: There goes two hours of my life I'm never getting back.
Profile Image for Farrah.
221 reviews607 followers
August 30, 2020
It's been a couple hours since I finished this book and I still feel nauseous. And sad.

For the first half of the book I wasn't sure it was gonna work for me. Although the writing was excellent and there was a thin thread of suspense it was mostly just a car ride with two characters that I couldn't relate to.

The second half changed everything!
I absolutely loved it, I was so impressed.

I was also glad when it was over because it was just too dark in there.

"𝙄𝙩'𝙨 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙩-𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙥𝙥𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙤𝙧 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙣𝙨𝙚 𝙤𝙧 𝙗𝙡𝙤𝙤𝙙𝙘𝙪𝙧𝙙𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙤𝙧 𝙜𝙧𝙖𝙥𝙝𝙞𝙘 𝙤𝙧 𝙫𝙞𝙤𝙡𝙚𝙣𝙩. 𝙉𝙤 𝙟𝙪𝙢𝙥 𝙨𝙘𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙨. 𝙏𝙤 𝙢𝙚, 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙨𝙚 𝙦𝙪𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙚𝙨 𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙣'𝙩 𝙪𝙨𝙪𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 𝙨𝙘𝙖𝙧𝙮. 𝙎𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙙𝙞𝙨𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙨, 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙪𝙣𝙨𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙡𝙚𝙙 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩'𝙨 𝙩𝙖𝙠𝙚𝙣 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙜𝙧𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙙, 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙙𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙪𝙧𝙗𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙙𝙞𝙨𝙧𝙪𝙥𝙩𝙨 𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙮 - 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩'𝙨 𝙨𝙘𝙖𝙧𝙮."
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
December 15, 2018
the universe is so strange. i was sick for a couple weeks (koff, koff) and for a few of those days, i was too sick to even read (i know - it was DIRE!), so i watched a lot of movies, including one that i did not have high expectations for at all, but i was curious about its well-publicized “OMG twist!” ending. and it was pretty bad. but i was glad to have seen it so i could discover the surprise on my own and not come across it on the careless internet. and once i could read again, but was still too sick for anything else, i decided to continue my spoiler-prophylactic junket and read this book, which i’ve owned since it came out in hardcover, noticed the VERY polarizing responses it inspired on here, and knew was a very “OMG twist!” book.

and wouldn’t you know it, the movie i’d watched and this book turned out to be about the same damn thing. which is why i can’t even tell you what the movie was. so i don’t know if it was because i had just seen a movie with the same(ish) elements, or if this was when my illness-superpowers began to stir, but yeah - i pretty much called the thing early on in the book. not 100%, but the biggest chunks of it.

which didn’t necessarily ruin the book for me, but there wasn’t much to it, apart from the reveal. the writing was wooden, and awkward enough that i thought it might have been translated, but nope. and the tone is hard. it’s alienating to a reader; distancing. it’s too preoccupied by abstractions, theoretical musings, it’s just too cerebral for a book this short (just over 200 pages) and for this genre, straddling the cusp between horror and thriller. to me, for a spooky book with this low of a page count to work, it can’t begin in such a languid way. it has to be punchy and intense, something that grips the reader by the throat and immerses them into a sensory whirlpool, giving them no time to step back and collect their thoughts or be anything other than engaged, startled, invested. this is a road trip book, and almost the entire first half is as uneventful and hypnotic as a long car drive, full of highway conversations of the most pompous and affected kind:

Jake passes the slow-moving pickup in front of us. It’s black, old. We’ve been following that truck for a while, pretty much for the entire story. I try to see the driver as we go by but can’t make him out. There haven’t been many cars with us on the road.

“What did you mean when you said all memory is fiction?” I ask.

“A memory is its own thing each time it’s recalled. It’s not absolute. Stories based on actual events often share more with fiction than fact. Both fictions and memories are recalled and retold. They’re both forms of stories. Stories are the way we learn. Stories are how we understand each other. But reality happens only once.”

This is when I’m most attracted to Jake. Right now. When he says things like “Reality happens only once.”

“It’s just weird, when you start thinking about it. We go see a movie and understand it’s not real. We know it’s people acting, reciting lines. It still affects us.”

“So you’re saying that it doesn’t matter if the story I just told you is made up or if it actually happened?”

“Every story is made up. Even the real ones.”

Another classic Jake line.

“I’ll have to think about that.”

“You know that song ‘Unforgettable’?”

“Yeah,” I say.

“How much is truly unforgettable?”

“I don’t know. I’m not sure. I like the song, though.”

“Nothing. Nothing is unforgettable.”


“That’s the thing. Part of everything will always be forgettable. No matter how good or remarkable it is. It literally has to be. To be.”

“That is the question?”

“Don’t,” says Jake.

and that’s a whole page of the book spent on…that. it successfully creates a hazy, pseudo-intellectual stoner mood, but is that the most appropriate atmosphere for a book like this, listed here as “horror, thriller, mystery, suspense?” passages, pages like this provide zero tension. and this is what we get for (nearly) the entire first half of the book. there are some spooky lumps studding the word-porridge, and they do cause the readerly hackles to stir in inquiry, but then we’re dragged back into muuusings:

”There’s something about modernity and what we value now. Is there a general lack of compassions? Of interest in others? In connections? It’s all related. How are we supposed to achieve a feeling of significance and purpose without feeling a link to something bigger than our own lives? The more I think about it, the more it seems happiness and fulfillment rely on the presence of others, even just one other. The same way sadness requires happiness, and vice versa. Alone is…”

“I know what you mean.”

not spooky, just tedious.

so far, a two-star book. but then, about halfway through, it escalates exponentially into scenes of such incredibly grotesque theater they feel like david lynch on a sugar high. and those sequences - everything from the farmhouse to the dairy queen - are absolutely perfect. it’s not a big chunk of the book, but it’s fantastic, and it’s what made me give it an extra star. it is so creepy - a blend of real and surreal and overt and implicit and the tension is 100% on point. and if this energy had been nursed and maintained throughout the book, it would have been gold. but here, it’s such a sharp escalation, it doesn’t really feel earned, and then after the dairy queen, it continues at a frenzied, manic pace, but it isn’t as inventive - it’s just ticking off the expected horror movie beats until the moment of ta-daaaaa, which i’d already surmised, and which is a fun OMG, but is not, i do not think, accurate or convincing once the shock cools. i am no expert, but i think some liberties are taken that prioritize dramatic payoff over how things go in the real world with stuff and things.

not a successful horror novel or thriller, but i can’t deny it’s got some wicked memorable, queasy-making scenes.

oh, and not to be a noodge, but since this book is so self-consciously precise and smartypantsed, it should know that thomas bernhard is austrian, not german.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Bel Rodrigues.
Author 3 books19.9k followers
May 25, 2021
2,5 ⭐

sempre que leio um suspense cujo plot eu acerto antes do final, gosto de frisar que isso não muda absolutamente nada quando a leitura foi proveitosa até o momento. no caso de "eu estou pensando em acabar com tudo", senti muita falta de qualquer coisa. entendi a vibe existencialista da história, a narração não confiável, a morbidez que cerceava tudo o tempo todo; isso só não justifica a ausência de acontecimento. é legal quando esperamos o final de um livro (ainda mais um thriller) pra saber o que aconteceu, só que não funciona pra mim quando é tudo um amontoado de mistério não-contado apenas para o leitor, onde o papel dele é ficar o tempo todo se questionando o que diabos tá acontecendo. é até legal, mas só isso? eu passo. não é sinal de inteligência nem nada parecido eu ter acertado o que realmente tava acontecendo, é só uma teoria de uma leitorah de thriller que acabou se concretizando. também fiquei levemente incomodada com

como sempre, eu recomendo o livro. mesmo diante do problema que tive com a história, é inegável que o autor tem uma ótima escrita e o enredo pode vir de encontro com o que você tá querendo ler no momento, além de ser uma narrativa beeem fluída.

aviso sobre conteúdo sensível: suicídio.
Profile Image for Zoeytron.
1,036 reviews690 followers
October 2, 2016
Yep. All of them. Stars, that is. This psychological horror novel clicked with me immediately. The level of dread and unease were almost completely off the scale before it was over. The tours of the barn and the abandoned school were fantastic.

An instant recognition of a perfect stranger, whispers, the Caller, there is only one question. Thought is reality, context is everything.

It's not surprising that the ratings are all over the place with this one. It won't be for everyone, so don't be surprised if it doesn't carry you away, but I loved it. And yes, I went back after finishing, did some skimming, and reread the italicized chapters back to front. Killer.
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,295 reviews27.9k followers
May 20, 2020
I just finished my reread of this book, and I definitely enjoyed this more after a second read. The first time I gave it 3 stars, and I was mostly confused. But this time I really appreciated the creepy atmosphere and this website gave me more answers about that crazy ending: http://afterthingsend.com/

This book follows a man named Jake and his girlfriend (who is never given a name) as they go to his rural farm in the middle of nowhere to meet his parents (who are insanely creepy). There's a snow storm and a dairy queen and an abandoned school, the setting is constantly creepy and eerie. The story is told from the girlfriend's point of view, and she's thinking of ending her relationship with Jake. We get flashbacks of weird things that have happened in her childhood and other random shit. This story kept a constant eerie, creepy vibe throughout it, and it kept me interested that's for sure. It's one of the most unsettling and strange books I've ever read.

And that ending... this audiobook is such an experience. The things that happen in this audiobook towards the end had my mind reeling, it's so crazy but also so cool. I haven't read any of book with something like this. I feel like this is the kind of book that gets better and better with each read because your probably notice more things each time you read it. I can definitely see why this book isn't for everyone, and I can understand why even I didn't really enjoy this much the first time around, but now it seems I'm obsessed with all things horror and an ending left open to interpretation is one of my favorite things.
Profile Image for Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine).
189 reviews229 followers
September 24, 2016
This was a very quick read and it kept me in suspense until the very end. That's the good news. The bad news? I don't know what the hell happened. I don't know how it ended. Seriously.

In an bout of frustration, I Google searched spoilers. I found an entire web site dedicated to discussing this very issue. Even the people that loved the book were, for the most part, confused. The general consensus seems to be that if you read the book twice, it'll all become very clear. Here's the thing:

I'm not genius but I think I'm a reasonably smart woman and I don't want to have to read a book twice in order to understand it. Perhaps I'm too being too demanding here, but I think it's the author's job to make me understand the story in one reading.

I'm really, really disappointed as I was loving this book to the very end. Or I was loving what I thought I was reading. Now I'm not even sure of that...

I would give this author one more chance because I think he's a pretty solid writer with a fabulous imagination. I don't mind a book that gives a good mind you-know-what. I just want to know how the damn thing ends!

Thanks to Gallery/Scout Press for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,509 reviews29.4k followers
July 19, 2016
Seriously, what the hell was this?

"I think what I want is for someone to know me. Really know me. Know me better than anyone else and maybe even me. Isn't that why we commit to another?"

In Iain Reid's I'm Thinking of Ending Things (I'll admit I thought of ending my reading of this book more than a few times), an unnamed woman is on a road trip with her boyfriend, Jake. They've been dating six weeks, and she enjoys his intelligence, his sense of humor, his intensity, and the way he surprises her with simple gestures that show how much he cares, yet she's thinking of ending things with him. But since they're traveling to see his parents, she figures she'll wait and see how the trip goes before making any decisions.

As the drive progresses, the pair have a number of conversations, about the imperfection of memory, the importance of relationships, the value of faith, science, free will, and fear. Periodically the peace of the trip is interrupted by a persistent caller on the narrator's cell phone, but she refuses to answer those calls or discuss them with Jake, although he can clearly see she is agitated by them.

When they arrive at the farm where Jake was raised, the tenor of the visit starts to disturb her. She is left feeling ill-at-ease by Jake's parents, although they're doing their best to be pleasant; she is troubled by Jake's swift mood change as he interacts with his parents; and she sees and experiences a number of things that unsettle, even frighten her. She doesn't know what is going on or what she's supposed to do, but she does know she absolutely must end things with Jake when they return home. Then things utterly disintegrate on the trip home, beginning with an ill-advised stop at a Dairy Queen (in the midst of a snowstorm), and ending with an unexpected detour.

The story of the road trip is interspersed with flashbacks of the past six weeks since she met Jake, as well as snippets of a conversation between two people about a tragic incident.

I had no idea what to expect when reading this. Much of the hype I've seen talked about how terrifying and unsettling the book was, and I guess I agree with the latter part of that statement. To be honest, I am not sure I understand some of what happened in this book, and I guess I don't think any book should purposely be this obtuse. The story just kept getting weirder and weirder, and I couldn't discern what was actually happening and what was the work of an unreliable narrator.

There's no denying that Reid is a talented writer. He kept me wanting to find out what was going to happen even as I kept shaking my head and getting squeamish from time to time, and his use of language was extraordinary. The issues raised in the conversations during the trip were also fascinating and thought-provoking. But in the end, I found this unsettling and ultimately unsatisfying, partially because I think the book took a very strange turn, and partially because I just wasn't sure what I just read.

If you've read this and enjoyed it, we should talk!! I'd love to get someone else's take on this book, especially if you're among those who enjoyed it.

See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....
Profile Image for Anne.
4,053 reviews69.5k followers
September 19, 2023
It was different.


I went into this will zero knowledge of the story, other than it was supposed to be creepy and it had some kind of mind-blowing ending.
I'm not sure what exactly happened, but the end wasn't as much of a surprise as I'd been led to believe.


Now, I will be the first to admit that I find conversations about the meaning of life annoying and pretentious, and this book was basically our narrator and Jake doing a whole lot of that. In real life, I tend to think people who sit around blathering about existential shit are too far up their own asses to be interesting in any real sort of way, but somehow the author managed not to annoy me with it.
Mostly because the book was fairly compact.
And I am someone who appreciates the ability to tell a story without dragging it out.

There's not a lot to say that won't spoil it, so I won't.
I thought it was good. It would have sucked if it had been longer, but for such a quickie, this is definitely worth a shot if you're curious.
Profile Image for Marianna Neal.
481 reviews2,158 followers
September 1, 2020
What's with the 3.34 Goodreads rating? That's pretty low for this website, and I'm not really sure why people aren't connecting with this one because DAMN... this was great! It's the kind of psychological thriller you want to devour in one sitting (and you can because of how short it is). I was constantly on edge reading this, particularly during the second half of the novel, and while the writing style was pretty simple, it was exactly what this type of story needed—just overall a really effective book. Loved it! I suggest going in knowing as little as possible, don't even read the synopsis on Goodreads because it already gives away too much.
Profile Image for Terrie  Robinson.
442 reviews710 followers
January 22, 2023
"I'm Thinking of Ending Things" by Iain Reid is this Author's Debut Novel!

Jake and his girlfriend have been dating for six weeks and now it's time for her to meet his parents. They're driving to the family farm for introductions and plans to stay for dinner.

As they drive together Jake's girlfriend has serious thoughts of ending things...

Let me tell ya', this book is one crazy ride!

You know something's going to happen. You expect it to happen at any moment. Jake's girlfriend is talking in her head the entire time, until she doesn't...

Are you curious yet?

This is the second Iain Reid audiobook I've listened to and both experiences were unique yet satisfying. I found each narrator to be perfectly matched to the story they were voicing. This type of detail gives the listener that "what the heck is going on" experience. Isn't that the allure of reading this author's writing?

I listened it and then I listened to it again. Then I watched the Netflix movie and it totally confused the crap outta me! This author certainly knows how to draw the reader in and hold them hostage wondering what the heck's transpiring.

I'm still not completely done with this book. I just ordered the paperback so I can read it next... backwards!

5 Creative-Different-Original Stars!⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,470 reviews1,009 followers
July 8, 2016
I finished "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" then I went back to the beginning and read it again.
You will want to read this book more than once. Or you'll want to hide it in the depths of the earth never to be seen again. Probably won't be that much inbetween those two things and the range of reviews would seem to back me on this.

Me? I'm going to tell everyone I know to read this book then read it again.

It scared the living crap out of me but no, don't ask. Iain Reid has written, in my humble opinion, a masterclass in unsettling the reader without them being able to put their finger on why exactly. It has a surreal, emotional and deeply disturbing vibe that starts on the first page then builds to a crescendo of turmoil at the end followed by a "Wait. No just wait a minute. What the all heck did I just read? Wait what now?" Then a sudden dawning of realisation as it settles and a desperate urge to go back to the start and see it with new eyes. I did that. I was just as haunted the second time round but for utterly different reasons.

Brilliantly constructed, absolutely gorgeous use of language, those little things that make you shiver, glance behind you, wonder what that noise was coming from the other room and when the blurb says "you will be afraid but you won't know why" that is exactly it. That right there.

It is incredibly difficult to review. Its a road trip for sure, one hell of a ride. Its like Stephen King dropped acid then wrote a story about a girl who is not sure whether she wants to break up with her boyfriend or not. And very much like King when he's bang on the money, you won't know what you are getting until you get there and when you DO get there everything you thought you knew will be turned on its head. That might get over some of the sense of it. Maybe. You should just read it.

Iain Reid has his own unique writing style to be sure that feeds into the story being told perfectly, there is an intensity of prose, an intuitive sense of things, it shines through and then sucks you into a vortex of impossible to describe, erm, things. Life is in here, a twist of life, some insightful commentary on how we all see things, how human interaction works. Or does not. Or could. Or something.

Oh yes I'm not making sense - but at the very heart of this one is one thing that I can't talk about without spoiling where this possibly ill fated couple end up. So really you probably just need to decide to read it. Or not. I would. I'm probably going to again because I'm sure I've missed nuances. I'm sure actually that I missed a lot of things. Only lets just see if I can sleep first. I doubt it. I'm still a little afraid to be honest...

I'm Thinking of Ending Things will quite definitively not be for everyone. But it was absolutely for me. And therefore I can't do anything other than highly recommend it.

I'll be here if you need to talk once you are done.....

Profile Image for Tim.
477 reviews654 followers
September 10, 2021
I should start by stating that this book seems to have created a wide variety of strong reactions in my friends. I respect them, both the positive and the negative. I think I disagree with just about all of them though. This is well written book. Some of the ideas in it are very clever. I did not hate it… it was worse than that.

I was entirely apathetic to it.

This is a book that should have been entirely up my alley. I like things that are subtitle in their creepiness (and indeed I really liked aspects of when our leads visited the house) and I like clever ideas, which this book certainly had a few… it just never managed to make me care.

I made an update a few days ago where I said I thought I knew how it was going to end and I didn't like it. Well, I was half right.

Should you read this? I honestly don't know. Most of my friends seem to have had a very strong reaction to it. They tend to be extremely favorable or intensely dislike it. Frankly in that regard, I don't get it.

So there you go, that's my exciting review. I can offer no real points of interest other than to say it simply didn't work for me. I can't write an enthusiastic review or an angry one. I simply don't care about this enough one way or another. I finished it thinking it would have to do something to get a strong reaction and it just fell flat. It doesn't hardly feel like I experienced it… instead it's feels simply like a bunch of words on paper. Sure, that's what it is, but I've rarely felt that way about a novel before. Simply words. Maybe they mean something so someone… for me I didn't feel a thing. 2/5 stars
Profile Image for Robin.
493 reviews2,720 followers
October 23, 2022
Ooooooooooooooh YES. Iain Reid, you got me. You reeled me in with your intelligent writing, got me to wade in those murky waters with your off kilter narrator, got my imagination going with the image of "The Caller", freaked me out good in that farmhouse with those dead lambs and chickens who eat their own eggs, and kept it going all the way through until the merciless ending, where I said - 'PARDON?' Now I need to read this all over again.

This is Reid's debut fiction novel, and he has truly done something original here, something those who enjoy dark and twisted literary fiction will appreciate.

It's gotten mixed reviews, much like Eileen; it is that edgy type of book that you will either love or (gasp) hate. It will grip you, confuse you a little, fascinate you, terrify you. If that sounds good to you, then...

What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for?
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