Review: I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

Sunday 15 May 2016
"I think there's a perception that fear and terror and dread are fleeting. That they hit hard and fast when they do, but they don't last. It's not true. They don't fade unless they're replaced by some other feeling. Deep fear will stay and spread if it can. You can't outrun or outsmart or subdue it. Untreated, it will only fester. Fear is a rash." — Iain Reid, I'm Thinking of Ending Things
I began I'm Thinking of Ending Things in the most idyllic of settings — relaxing on a beach in Playa del Carmen with the sea to my left and a piƱa colada to my right. I finished it in what's probably the worst place to read a psychological thriller — home alone at night in the middle of a rainstorm.

Gripping and smart, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is a fast (but harrowing read) that follows an unnamed narrator on a road trip with her new boyfriend, Jake, to and from his parents' farmhouse. An unexpected detour lands the pair outside (and ultimately inside) a deserted high school, a decision that culminates in more questions than answers. 

I’m Thinking of Ending Things is the first novel from Iain Reid, the critically acclaimed memoirist behind One Bird’s Choice: A Year in the Life of an Overeducated, Underemployed Twenty-something Who Moves Back Home, in which he returns to his familial home (his parents’ hobby farm), and The Truth About Luck, his tale of a road trip with his grandmother. It's no exaggeration to say that I'm Thinking Ending Things is a huge departure for Reid. 

“I think a lot of what we learn about others isn’t what they tell us. It’s what we observe”

I'm Thinking of Ending Things begs for a reader with a keen sense of observation. I'm going to be honest here — I'm not that reader. I was greeted by the last page of I'm Thinking of Endings Things with deep confusion.

Full disclosure: I didn't get it. Not even in the least. So I did what most confused readers would do, and I visited Goodreads where some kindly readers explained the ending to me. There seem to be two camps of people on Goodreads reviewing this novel: Those who were gobsmacked by the ending and those who didn't understand it. I was clearly the latter.

What I did find fascinating about I'm Thinking of Endings Things is Reid's ability to use his own experiences, as chronicled in his memoirs, weaving them into the unlikely narrative of a thriller. Don't let my experience with this novel deter you. I'm Thinking of Ending Things is haunting and tense, forcing readers to think. That said, it's not one for readers in search of neat, tidy endings. But there are many other books for that.


  1. Freaking me out because I read the book at Playa de Carmen as well....Still can't stop thinking about it...

  2. Well you're no help. I came here in search of understanding. At least I'm not alone ;-)


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