Reid, Iain. 2016. I’m Thinking of Ending Things. New York, NY: Gallery/Scout Press, a division of Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1501126925. $22.95 USD.
I read this slim volume, which packs the punch of a much bigger novel, while on vacation in July and it scared me silly! I was sitting in the common area of our cabin in the woods, the black night making visibility opaque through the windows, and had to stop and read something else, deciding this book is best read during the daylight! It is not a horror novel, per se; it’s actually rather difficult to classify. But the suspense toward the end is so intense that I felt like closing my eyes (except that I wouldn’t have been able to read, of course! That reminds me of Groucho Marx’s famous quote, “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read”)! A little levity in this rather dark and deep book review!
A man and a woman, who are dating, are on a drive to a farm in the country (somewhere) so that she can meet his parents. During the drive, all kinds of interesting things are discussed. But we know from the beginning that the woman is “thinking of ending things.” We also know something terrible is going to happen, because between chapters, written in italics, are conversations of unknown people saying things like, "How did this happen? Did anyone see it coming; What a tragedy; Did he bleed out?" So we have in-your-face-foreshadowing that the narrative is leading us to something bad, bad, bad.
After a very strange visit to the man’s parents’ house, on the way back home, with the woman still considering “ending things,” the man makes a stop at his old high school, and then disappears, leaving the woman alone, in the dark, in the snow, in a creepy abandoned building. It was at this point that I had to stop reading, and pick up some light chic lit! I can’t write any more without giving too much away, but be prepared to have your mind blown by the ending. I’ve read the reviews on Amazon, and a number of people didn’t seem to understand what happened at the end and gave it negative reviews. All I can say is that it’s worth a re-read if you aren’t quite sure what happened, and think about the title of the book from a different perspective. Outstanding debut!