I'm Thinking of Ending Things
You will be scared. But you won’t know why…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 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.

I'm Thinking of Ending Things Details

TitleI'm Thinking of Ending Things
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 14th, 2016
PublisherGallery/Scout Press
Rating
GenreHorror, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Mystery Thriller, Suspense

I'm Thinking of Ending Things Review

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    January 1, 1970
    Jake and his girlfriend are on a road trip to go and see Jake's parents at their rural farm. 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. With a smidge of this: Then we find out some stuff and thangs. (I'm Jake and his girlfriend are on a road trip to go and see Jake's parents at their rural farm. 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. With a smidge of this: 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. Then the ending. That frigging ending. 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. 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. 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.
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  • Jennifer Masterson
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.THINGS I LIKED: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.
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  • Edward Lorn
    January 1, 1970
    WINNER OF BEST AUDIOBOOK 2016!Dig it:This book is a perfect example of negative reviews selling a book. Specifically Shelbs's and Kells's reviews. I had to see what all the fuss was about. So, yeah, the negative reviews of this book sold me. I paid money for this book based solely on negative reviews. Some authors need to hear that. They need to let that shit sink in. Are Shelbs and Kells stupid for not getting this book? Nope. And I'll explain why.Iain Reid's I'm Thinking of Ending Things is WINNER OF BEST AUDIOBOOK 2016!Dig it:This book is a perfect example of negative reviews selling a book. Specifically Shelbs's and Kells's reviews. I had to see what all the fuss was about. So, yeah, the negative reviews of this book sold me. I paid money for this book based solely on negative reviews. Some authors need to hear that. They need to let that shit sink in. Are Shelbs and Kells stupid for not getting this book? Nope. And I'll explain why.Iain Reid's I'm Thinking of Ending Things is 224 pages in hardcover. The audiobook (which I suggest you listen to instead of reading the actual book) is five hours and twenty-two minutes long (5:22). If you read it at x2 speed, you can listen to it in the time it takes to watch one of The Hobbit movies. There's a reason this book is as short as it is. Reid wants you to read his book twice, and not necessarily in the same order in which you first read it. He's a tricksy hobbitses, and we shall discuss more in the Spoiler Discussion.This book is utterly fascinating, and I believe that's why so many people are torn over it. All too often we're lulled into a sense of normality. We think things should happen one way and we get locked into that mindset. So much so that we cannot see the forest for the trees. The frustrating part about this book is that is seems to have been written for audio. In the audiobook, when you come to the "twist", there's an obvious change and everything becomes clear as day. I relistened to the book right after listening to it the first time and I read an entirely different book. Simply put, this is kinda (but not really) like The Sixth Sense. Second time around, you will see . Do I think you're going to read this twice? No. Do I think you're going to reread this to see if I'm right? No. But I did, and my experience was vastly improved the second time around.In summation: Some of you like long(er) books. If you can dedicate yourself to 500 pages, there's no reason you can't reread this (maybe in a different order?) right after you finish it. You'll likely see what Reid did in the first readthrough, but there's so many goodies in the reread. Simple stuff you would never have paid attention to, like, say, a red door knob. Final Judgment: Two experiences in one bookSpoiler Discussion: Wherein I spoil I'm Thinking of Ending Things, by Iain Reid.(view spoiler)[Reid gives clear instructions in the very last chapter of this book. The unnamed duo who've been talking between the chapters are discussing the book found next to Jake's body, and the guy tells the woman that he thinks she should read it once and then read it again, only backward. This is a pain in the ass to do in audio, but I did it. I suggest you do the same. You know, if you wanna. Yes, Jake killed himself because he was struggling with schizophrenia, as most super-intelligent folks do. No, there never was any girlfriend. It was always him. He made up, in his mind, everything that happened after the night he met her in the bar. This book is a very sick man playing in his own head. It's sad and disturbing and even a bit beautiful. Madness usually is.Jake did work in a lab. He left that job to take a job as a janitor. Somewhere he could just blend in and do his own thing and, even though he was around people, he kinda wasn't. How many of you remember your high school janitors? Did you hang out with that person or did they just kinda exist on the edge? I understand why people didn't like this book, but I fucking loved it. Reid made the book just short enough that you can reread it with ease right after reading it the first time. Bravo. Good on him for trying something unique with his fiction. Lastly, in the audiobook, right at the repetitious part at the end, when he says that one line over and over again, the narrator switches from female to male. I don't know how they pulled this off in the book, but in the audiobook it is chilling and makes the twist clear. That's my favorite part of the book, really, but don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the entire experience. Thanks for joining me. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
    January 1, 1970
    What the hell did I just read...
  • Maggie Stiefvater
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
    January 1, 1970
    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 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
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  • Trudi
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • Deanna
    January 1, 1970
    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 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
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  • Zoeytron
    January 1, 1970
    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. (view spoiler)[ What if we are all just alone? (hide spoiler)] Thought is reality, context is everything. It's not surprising that the ratings are all over the 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. (view spoiler)[ What if we are all just alone? (hide spoiler)] 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.
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  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.”“What?”“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!
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  • Larry H
    January 1, 1970
    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 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....
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  • Evgnossia O'Hara
    January 1, 1970
    What was that???? I'm so confused...Review later perhaps...
  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.....
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  • Felicia
    January 1, 1970
    "I’m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks. It lingers. It dominates.".....aaaaand that's how I felt while reading this book. Though I can see how the style of this story would appeal to others, it just wasn't for me. HOWEVER, all is not lost because at the end of the book was an excerpt from the author's sophomore novel, Foe, and THAT one is definitely more my style and just got added to the upper stratosphere of my TBR. Silver linings and so that crap. "I’m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks. It lingers. It dominates.".....aaaaand that's how I felt while reading this book. Though I can see how the style of this story would appeal to others, it just wasn't for me. HOWEVER, all is not lost because at the end of the book was an excerpt from the author's sophomore novel, Foe, and THAT one is definitely more my style and just got added to the upper stratosphere of my TBR. Silver linings and so that crap. 😋
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  • Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
    January 1, 1970
    As per usual, this is a legit, no spoiler review.I didn't know anything about this book, nor have I read any reviews now that I've finished it. I'm eager to read some reviews after I'm finished writing this--My thoughts:This book will be on my list for my favorite reads this year, I know that for sure.Here's what happened:I wanted to read this book because I have an ARC of Iain's next book, FOE sitting on my nightstand and I just wanted some author context under my belt--like style and voice.So As per usual, this is a legit, no spoiler review.I didn't know anything about this book, nor have I read any reviews now that I've finished it. I'm eager to read some reviews after I'm finished writing this--My thoughts:This book will be on my list for my favorite reads this year, I know that for sure.Here's what happened:I wanted to read this book because I have an ARC of Iain's next book, FOE sitting on my nightstand and I just wanted some author context under my belt--like style and voice.So I used some birthday money to buy this. I was currently reading the Outsider by Stephen King when I accidentally left that book downstairs. Already in bed, I was too lazy to go get it, so I decided to entertain myself by reading a little of this book.I was hooked after 7 pages.Then I read about 100 pages on Friday and a 100 pages last night, finishing the book.It's like *nothing* I have ever read before. It gets in your head. There is this unnerving feeling that there is all this subtext going on just under the surface of what you're reading but you, the reader, can't get to it. The author has hidden it from you.There are certain reveals in the story where you *think* you've pulled a thread out to follow--a little theory to cling to but then that thread is quickly pulled away as the author leads you somewhere else.I'm not going to give you anything in this review.You are totally on your own as far as I'm concerned and it is my opinion that you should buy this book before someone spoils everything for you and read it straight through in one sitting.Then, follow the author's instructions when you're done. You'll see.Thank you Iain Reid for hours of pure, reader's bliss. I'm looking forward to FOE even more now.
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  • Kelli
    January 1, 1970
    I'm thinking of spoiling things, or to be more specific, I'm thinking that anything I say about this could spoil it, so I will just say that I read this in one sitting and I was intrigued. 4 stars.
  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    January 1, 1970
    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/The following quote pretty much sums up my dream thriller . . . “My story is not like a movie, I’ll say. 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 unsettles what’s taken for granted, something that disturbs and disrupts reality – that’s scary.” ^^^^^Oooooooooo so much excite!!!! Unfortunately the Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/The following quote pretty much sums up my dream thriller . . . “My story is not like a movie, I’ll say. 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 unsettles what’s taken for granted, something that disturbs and disrupts reality – that’s scary.” ^^^^^Oooooooooo so much excite!!!! Unfortunately the above-referenced quote occurred at the 83% mark of I’m Thinking of Ending Things and up to that point I had been taken on quite possibly the most boring car ride in the history of the universe. And then I got to the end and all I’m left with is . . . I know, I know. I just wasn’t smart enough to see the brilliance. I’ll admit it. I have no clue what the hell was going on that was supposed to get me all on the edge of my seat with anticipation or the point of the entire book. All I know is that I feel like it was a waste of my time so it gets 1 Star. I’m sad to have not enjoyed this as much as Nick Cutter and my bookpusher Trudi. What can I say???? ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    My immediate reaction upon finishing: "What was that? It started out with a certain amount of promise, then... the last 150 pages just rambled into an incoherent ending. Either that, or I didn't get the memo."Update: If you're spoiler averse, don't read this. Readers have a plethora of reviews available to them which dance around this novel so completely that the innocent and unwary can't assess whether it's a book they'd like. I'm here to help. Really. I initially had difficulty identifying why My immediate reaction upon finishing: "What was that? It started out with a certain amount of promise, then... the last 150 pages just rambled into an incoherent ending. Either that, or I didn't get the memo."Update: If you're spoiler averse, don't read this. Readers have a plethora of reviews available to them which dance around this novel so completely that the innocent and unwary can't assess whether it's a book they'd like. I'm here to help. Really. I initially had difficulty identifying why I found I'm Thinking of Ending Things to be so unsatisfying, even irritating. Initially, I pinned my reaction on the fact that there are unreliable narrators and then there are unreliable narrators, by which I mean, an author can use an unreliable narrator as a device for creating a certain amount of surprise, which is fine, but if, as here, an author uses the device to keep the reader in the dark for 95% of the novel, this reader wants to toss the book across the room. For a successful use of the unreliable narrator, see the obvious, relatively recent example, Gone Girl. It's approximately 50% through Gone Girl that Amy's character is first revealed fully to the reader. For the rest of the book, the reader is "in on it". The reveal is perfect. The timing doesn't seem to abuse the reader's trust. In ITOET, the reader spends the majority of the novel accompanying its characters at night during a snowstorm through the dark countryside , then a farmhouse, then a Dairy Queen and finally, endlessly, a darkened high school. Interspersed italics dialogue create curiosity and dread, but as Hannah Pittard's NY Times review I've linked below indicates, "To get to the answers, one must keep reading. While this bait-and-switch tactic is by no means a flaw — the early instances are especially effective in encouraging the reader to continue — by the novel’s end they come to feel more gimmicky than earned." The idea that it's the reader's job to re-read this book again, backwards is a bunch of [insert your fave term here].Rather than come up with another way to say the same thing, I'm excerpting from Pittard's spot-on review below, to explain why I found ITOET to be more perturbing than brilliant, and adding "non-diegetic" to my vocabulary.*******************“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” relies on a surprise finish that’s crucial to any evaluation of the story. Without giving anything away, then, I’d like to talk about my disappointment in the “big reveal.” In class, I sometimes talk about non-diegetic mysteries versus diegetic ones. It’s an imperfect use of the term, but it suits my purposes. The distinction, basically, is this: Diegetic mysteries exist for both the reader and the characters. (When Gregor Samsa finds himself “transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect,” he’s as confused as we are.) Non-diegetic mysteries, I propose, are those in which the reader knows less than the text, in which we are at the mercy of a less-than-forthcoming narrator or author. In its cheapest form, think “I see dead people”; at its best, consider the narrator of Tim O’Brien’s “In the Lake of the Woods,” who intentionally — and to devastating effect — withholds information to win us over in the face of impossible crimes against humanity.Reid’s mystery feels more non-­diegetic than it needs to be. Midway through the novel, causality seems to fall away entirely, as the characters — both the principal players and the bit ones — begin making head-scratching decisions: deciding to tour the farm before dinner though it’s arguably too cold for comfort and too dark to see anything; deciding to explore the basement alone though there are scratches on a trap door that look “frantic”; deciding to stop for “something sweet” on the drive home after dinner though there’s now a full-on snowstorm and nobody is remotely hungry; deciding to drive down a remote, unplowed road in order to throw away the sweating cups of icy lemonade because they might melt and turn the cup holders sticky. In almost every instance, the decisions being made in the novel’s homestretch feel applied rather than organic, and this reader at any rate found herself longing for reason and connection.Does the ending provide a solution for these brow-­furrowing choices? Yes, it does. But to my mind it is not a convincing one, neither does it live up to the novel’s stunning and startling opening.***********************I'm not a fan of being at an author's mercy, or of characters that make one head-scratching decision after another. If it's not okay when Nevada Barr or Alifair Burke do it, Reid doesn't get a pass because his work is deemed literary. Giving credit where it's due, here's a link to Pittard's full review: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/04/boo...
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  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsOoooooooooooooh 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 4.5 starsOoooooooooooooh 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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  • Beverly
    January 1, 1970
    This was a horror show. I listened to it, instead of reading it too, so it was much more intense. In the audio version when the point of view changes to us, the woman's voice became a man's which makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck even now. It's not gory or not much anyway, everything is suggested and you have a creeping sense of unease that never really goes away. Great characterization and setting makes this a top notch read.
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  • Fictionophile
    January 1, 1970
    One thing’s for sure. I’ll never hear “Hey Good Lookin’” again with having chills go down my spine…Iain Reid’s novel is not for everyone. I think that you will either hate it, or, as I did, love it! Some reviewers termed it a ‘mind f**k’. I have to agree. It is the type of book, that to appreciate all the nuances, you have to read twice. Even though my TBR is long, I did go back and reread many pages in order to get my head around it. This review will be different because I can’t say much One thing’s for sure. I’ll never hear “Hey Good Lookin’” again with having chills go down my spine…Iain Reid’s novel is not for everyone. I think that you will either hate it, or, as I did, love it! Some reviewers termed it a ‘mind f**k’. I have to agree. It is the type of book, that to appreciate all the nuances, you have to read twice. Even though my TBR is long, I did go back and reread many pages in order to get my head around it. This review will be different because I can’t say much without giving too much away…I am a retired library cataloger. If I was still working and this book came across my desk I would have likely given it the genres ‘psychological thriller’ AND ‘horror’. It had a feel of Stephen King crossed with Minette Walters.The story begins with Jake and his ‘girlfriend’ traveling to his parents’ farm in order that he might introduce her to them. The car conversation is overshadowed by the ‘girlfriend’s’ thoughts. In fact most of the book is told from her point of view. The girlfriend is “thinking of ending things’ with Jake, although they seem quite well suited. She has not told him her intentions. Another thing that she has not told him is that she has an anonymous ‘Caller’ that sends her texts messages. Sometimes several times a night – AND they always come from her own phone number. The messages are always the same: “There’s only one question to resolve…”Jake is super-intelligent. He is a scientist, a reader, an intellectual, and a philosopher who has a great sense of humor. He met his ‘girlfriend’ at a pub’s trivia night. They haven’t been going out for long, just over a month. In this short time they have become close and have developed an intense attachment.The weather worsens as the day draws to a close. Their arrival at the farm is written in such a way that it makes you uncomfortable. Not overtly menacing, but menacing all the same… The parents are quirky and not altogether what one would expect.Refusing to stay the night, Jake and his ‘girlfriend’ leave the farm in the worsening storm. Weirdly, they stop at a Dairy Queen to get lemonade. Then when they want to get rid of the cups he travels a distance out of their way to go to an empty high school he knows of to dump the lemonade cups in the trash. He leaves the girlfriend in the car and takes the keys. When he doesn’t return, she follows him into the school. That’s when things get frightening and intense.This is an intelligent novel that expounds on loneliness and solitude (though this is done in such a way that it is almost incidental). It is a philosophical treatise on how fine a line there is between genius and madness. How you never really know another person.I can understand that the cerebral quality of the narrative would not appeal to some readers. Some just won’t ‘get it’. I think I did ‘get it‘, but then again, another reader might think the same and will have interpreted it a different way. As Edmund Wilson said: “No two persons ever read the same book”. I just know I liked it. I liked that it made me think, it made me uneasy and ultimately it made me applaud what I believe to be an outstanding debut.Many thanks to Gallery/Scout Press via NetGalley for my digital copy of this novel in exchange for my unbiased review.
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  • L A i N E Y
    January 1, 1970
    [18.10.30] I was talking to a friend about books to read for Halloween and what do you know? Like a real menace to my psych that it was/is - last night I got a nightmare from it AGAIN. Should come with trigger warning. At least for me.This thing scared the shit out of me!Disconcerting, unnerving and altogether the stuff of nightmare.It was, without a doubt, truly a brilliant book. The fact that the author could write such an eerie debut novel was beyond incredible .... but... I hated being in [18.10.30] I was talking to a friend about books to read for Halloween and what do you know? Like a real menace to my psych that it was/is - last night I got a nightmare from it AGAIN. Should come with trigger warning. At least for me.This thing scared the shit out of me!Disconcerting, unnerving and altogether the stuff of nightmare.It was, without a doubt, truly a brilliant book. The fact that the author could write such an eerie debut novel was beyond incredible .... but... I hated being in her (view spoiler)[his (hide spoiler)] head. It's kind of like you were so scared being on the journey then you got to your destination and it terrified you even more. What can you say to that? It's a weird situation to be in. And this is a weird review for me to write and I'm sure even weirder for you to read! I don't think I'm going to make much sense but I think it was only fitting seeing as the book disconcerted me so damn much.I don't know how to rate this. I'm quite irresolute what to do in this circumstance.I mean rating a book more than 3 stars, for me, means 'I more than just like this' but I don't like this book. Not in the literal sense of the word LIKE. No, I do not like this book. Actually I don't like this at all. On the contrary, I wish I had never read it in the first place. This damn book. I wish I could just simply unread it. Why oh why did I even do this to myself?? Now is the time for the answer. Just one question. One question to answer. This book was excrutiating. It's fucking brutal.(view spoiler)[You could go crazy going on like this being in his head hallucinating like that(?) Was it even hallucination? Or was it Multiple Personality Disorder? Or like he said "All memory is fiction"? Did he always have it or he had extreme social anxiety & through the loneliness he conjured up the 'memory'? What about Ms. Veal? Was she real or he had this hallucination since his childhood? Or this was just a story within a story that Jake (oh Jake poor man :<) wrote? (hide spoiler)]It was so damn unsettling, I wish I had left it well alone. Alone and far far away from my inane curiosity! I wish I could unread it, the whole damn thing. Just a quick unread so I could get a sound sleep tonight!rating: ★★★★½
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  • Lindsey Rey
    January 1, 1970
    This is the scariest thing I have ever read in my life. I'm gonna go hide under a blanket now.
  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    Sincere appreciation is extended to Simon & Schuster and Edelwiess for providing this e-galley for my reading pleasure and honest review. To be published June 14, 2016.I’m Thinking of Ending Things is the kind of book that is difficult to describe as well as unequivocally recommend. It will appeal to a niche group that likes a well-constructed psychological read. It will not be for everyone but for those of us who like a dark, brooding tale, it will be a winner.It didn’t start out that way. Sincere appreciation is extended to Simon & Schuster and Edelwiess for providing this e-galley for my reading pleasure and honest review. To be published June 14, 2016.I’m Thinking of Ending Things is the kind of book that is difficult to describe as well as unequivocally recommend. It will appeal to a niche group that likes a well-constructed psychological read. It will not be for everyone but for those of us who like a dark, brooding tale, it will be a winner.It didn’t start out that way. Let me go back to the beginning. It’s time to meet the boyfriend’s parents. Jake. The boyfriend. The narrator is feeling nostalgic on this long drive out of the city to their farm, nostalgic about Jake, the relationship, about what is described as Us. ”I’m thinking of ending things.” Just what does that mean? As the drive finally results in an early evening arrival at the house, I can feel myself getting tense, taut, on edge. The drive has been too much for me. The house is not what I’m expecting. Jake’s parents are, well, you’ll see. I’m feeling creepy with a deep sense of foreboding. ”I’m thinking of closing the book.” I’m usually not frightened but it’s the not knowing that is killing me here. I’m Thinking of Ending Things builds slowly and then races, IMO, a bit too quickly to its end. ”I’m thinking I liked it.”
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  • Marianna Neal
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
    January 1, 1970
    This was good, but not great. It took me a really, really long time to get into it and for such a short book, that’s not exactly ideal.
  • Blair
    January 1, 1970
    Thought is reality. Actions can be faked.It's hard to talk about this book without talking about its Big Twist Ending, which, depending on who you ask, is either stupefying or trite, a sharp slap in the face or a damp squib. For me – well, at a certain point I saw it coming. And for what it's worth, I think it's a good twist. But that is not why I loved this book, and I think it's a shame the twist seems to swallow up all other discussion of its many strengths.The narrator, a nameless woman, is Thought is reality. Actions can be faked.It's hard to talk about this book without talking about its Big Twist Ending, which, depending on who you ask, is either stupefying or trite, a sharp slap in the face or a damp squib. For me – well, at a certain point I saw it coming. And for what it's worth, I think it's a good twist. But that is not why I loved this book, and I think it's a shame the twist seems to swallow up all other discussion of its many strengths.The narrator, a nameless woman, is in a new relationship with Jake, a slightly awkward, hyper-intelligent lab technician. In the first half of the book, they're driving to Jake's family home, where she will meet his parents for the first time. But the narrator is thinking of ending things. She says as much in the opening line. The notion feels simultaneously new and old to her. Does she truly want to be with Jake? Where is the relationship going? Her thoughts spiral into pseudo-philosophical ruminations, meditations on solitude that I absolutely loved. Why abandon the routine we each master? Why give up the opportunity for many diverse relationships in exchange for one? The idea that we are better off with one person for the rest of our lives is not an innate truth of existence. It's a belief we want to be true. Forfeiting solitude, independence, is a much greater sacrifice than most of us realise. Sharing a habit, a life, is for sure harder than being alone. In fact, coupled living seems virtually impossible, doesn't it? To find another person to spend all your life with? To age with and change with? To see every day, to respond to their moods and needs? The narrator also thinks over a problem she has been trying to ignore: the voicemail messages she receives from a man she refers to as 'the Caller'. He always repeats the same nonsensical statement, but in his last message, he added a disturbing coda, something more personal.The chapters are punctuated with unexplained fragments of conversations between unidentified people. These are given no context – it's not even clear whether it's the same people in each one – but it's obvious the conversations take place after some violent discovery.The tagline of the book is 'you'll be scared, but you won't know why', and it's remarkable how true that is. There is a constant sense of discomfort without it ever being clear where exactly this is coming from. It's obvious someone here is untrustworthy, but who? Strange details like the existence of the Caller add to the unease. As the two main characters wend their way into the silent dark, the atmosphere thickens. When they reach the house, reality seems to fragment further, skipping like a broken record. What kind of story is this, exactly?I'm Thinking of Ending Things reminded me of Martin MacInnes' Infinite Ground in its refusal to provide explanations or make its characters behave logically. It reminded me of Alexandra Kleeman's surgically surreal You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine, especially when I got to the scene in a snowbound Dairy Queen, a scrubbed-clean striplit nightmare. It reminded me of the film Nocturnal Animals – all the horrible claustrophobic menace of the segment on the highway that had me squirming but riveted.This book induces either love or hate. It worked wonderfully for me: the voice, the mood, the perfection of its details, the way its oddness comes alive. What are you waiting for?TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr
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  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    It's so difficult to review this book without explaining the book! It's a short quick read and that's good because you might want to read it twice. At the least, go back and read the italicized chapters separately. I think even telling how the book made me feel will give it away.Reviews are divided; the book is unique and clever. If you read it, I hope you "get" it.
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