Review: I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Quinn Soltesz, Entertainment/Features editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

When you finally decide to read a book that you bought over a year ago, it often leads you to ask: “why have I held off reading this for so long?” I did this exact thing with the book I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid.

I had purchased this novel about a year before I finally decided that it would be perfect to carry around with me and read during ORB in English class. I had read the first 15 pages or so when I originally bought the book, and I initially thought it would be a quick and easy thriller story with maybe a psychological twist at the end. I was genuinely excited to read it. This quickly changed as I embarked on a month long journey to finish one of the most abstruse books I have ever read.

I suppose, in retrospect, it was good that I was required to read this in order to get a good grade in English, because without that incentive, I never would have finished it.

As I struggled through the first half of the book, it’s sole plot point driven by an unnatural conversation between an unnamed narrator and her boyfriend as they drive to his parent’s remote farmhouse, I found myself taking notes in the margins. I usually never do this, but I had to write snarky comments about the dialogue in order to keep my interest. Every two weeks, I would begin an arduous journey to finish about 50 pages during our class time dedicated to this. Every time, I wished I had chosen to call in sick that day.

I realize I am dissing on this book pretty harshly but am not giving any qualitative evidence as to why it is bad. Lets begin! For the characters, there are only two main ones (maybe? More on that later) and they offer little development. The narrator begins off being bland and having no defining personality traits and her boyfriend is only given the traits of “geeky, awkward, science nerd”. Needless to say, their conversations, which took up 75% of the book, were bland and often about existential problems that were of the lowest quality of relevance.

The plot of this book was almost nonexistent, and became almost as irrelevant as the aforementioned conversations. Boyfriend and girlfriend travel to weird parent’s farm, discuss creepy experiences, and get trapped in a deserted high school. The last 50 pages of the book are essentially a fever dream that hinges on the main characters attempting to throw away Dairy Queen blizzard cups during an actual blizzard. It is so hard to describe what actually happened in this story because the thoughts of the narrator obscured almost any plot points.

I read an analysis of this book that the narrator and the boyfriend are actually the same person and that the boyfriend had schizophrenia and was imagining the events of the story the entire time. With this in mind, it is much easier to appreciate the craft of this story and how well the author illustrated the effects of mental diseases.The book would have been made much better, and much easier to understand, if there was another narrator that could have juxtaposed this extremely confusing story with an observation of the extent of the boyfriend’s condition. Overall, while I hated the experience of reading this novel, I am glad that I completed it and have a better understanding of people who suffer through schizophrenia every day.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email