I read a Book Riot post on the best thrillers with unpredictable endings, and Iain Reid's I'm Thinking of Ending Things was on the list. I requested it from the library and boy howdy, was it a hell of a ride.
Our protagonist who is never named has a wonderful boyfriend, Jake, with whom things are going well — in fact, they are driving out to meet his parents when the story starts. However, she’s thinking of ending things. She waffles back and forth, and it isn’t until they are on the drive home that she decides, definitely, that’s she’s thinking of ending things. The night takes a turn, though, when Jake pulls off on a desolate country road to a huge school that is clearly abandoned in the late night snow storm. As things go from bad to worse, she finds herself running for her life, and with her life, in this school that is so strange yet so familiar.
I was absolutely intrigued by this story for the majority of it. I was completely creeped out by Jake’s family and his demeanor at dinner. Reid sets up this gothic thriller so well; we are on our way to dinner with his family, anticipating a nice night with early relationship jitters, and by the end all we want to do is get the hell out of dodge. But do you stay or do you go? Jake’s father offers for them to stay the night. They opt to go. But would things have happened differently if they had stayed?
As a reader, I dreaded them pulling off the deserted highway in a snowstorm to an evermore desolate side road. Add on the abandoned school and I would have walked so fast back to town and risked frostbite. That combined with the narrator’s stalker in the back of my mind and her dead cell phone, I was a big ol’ NOPE. I desperately wanted her out of that situation immediately.
Here’s the thing, though. I’m not sure I’m smart enough to get the ending. Once the final 20 pages took hold, I had to reread them, and I still do not h defat and the ending. I even looked it up online and not a single person will explain it. On one hand, that’s amazing for the author who’s work is outstanding and deserves to stand in its own. But on the other, I’m not sure I will get what the ending meant. I can’t say more without giving it away, so if you have read it, or you are killing to — help a girl out please!