I’m Thinking of Ending Things – Iain Reid – Audible Book Review
Book Narrated by Candace Thaxton
I’m Thinking of Ending Things is the debut novel by Iain Reid, written in 2016. The book may be known to many as it was recently converted into a Netflix film, directed by Charlie Kaufmann and starring Jessie Buckley, Jesse Plemons, Toni Collette and David Thewlis. The book is written from the perspective of a young woman who is taking a road trip with her boyfriend, Jake. They recently met in a bar and have spent a lot of time together in the intervening weeks. She has received a number of strange phone calls since the night she first met Jake. These phone calls have been troubling her and are quite unnerving in nature. The road trip in question is to meet Jake’s parents. It all seems to be moving a bit too quickly for Jake’s girlfriend as she’s still unsure about their relationship. She is ‘thinking of ending things’ with her new boyfriend, despite enjoying his company and seeing many positives in their relationship. The book shows their trip to Jake’s childhood home and beyond.
Reid hails from Ontario in Canada and graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. If you’re looking for an unusual fact about Reid, and I know you are, his sister Eliza Reid is the current First Lady of Iceland, as his brother in law is Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, the current President of Iceland. This work was his debut novel and was quickly followed up by Foe in 2018. The book is in the horror or thriller genre, but is quite psychological in nature, as we see what is going on in the young woman’s mind through all these troubling events. It’s unusual for a horror book to put us so firmly inside the mind of the protagonist as she moves towards the climax of these events!
One of the most unusual aspects of listening to this work so soon after the release of the film is seeing the many changes that Kaufman and his team made when converting the book for the screen. The ending of the book is entirely different from that depicted by the film and you have to wonder what they felt did not work about the original. The film also left out major aspects of the book, some of them the most haunting or unnerving. They may have thought the original too gruesome in nature or too difficult to depict on screen. Reid himself said the ending was open to interpretation with each view being “totally valid”. He also said he enjoys books that “put some of the onus onto me to decipher and complete the story”. This book leaves much for the reader to interpret and it is a most unusual and unnerving work. As is so often the case, the book is far superior to the film on many levels.