Pages Feature: “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” by Iain Reid + Thoughts on the Netflix Adaptation

“Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.”

Iain Reid, I’m Thinking of Ending Things
You will be scared. But you won’t know why…
I’m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks. It lingers. It’s always there. Always.
Jake once said, “Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.”
And here’s what I’m thinking: I don’t want to be here.
In this deeply suspenseful and irresistibly unnerving debut novel, a man and his girlfriend are on their way to a secluded farm. When the two take an unexpected detour, she is left stranded in a deserted high school, wondering if there is any escape at all. What follows is a twisted unraveling that will haunt you long after the last page is turned.

A few months ago, I randomly started reading “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” by Iain Reid and found myself unable to put it down. This book kept appearing on my Goodreads feed and bookstagram—perhaps because of the upcoming Netflix film that I will also talk about later on in this post.

First off, this unique book is one of those reads that I wouldn’t recommend to just anyone. It is weird and creepy and I absolutely loved it, but I know some readers find it just a bit too weird, and even my husband was dissatisfied with the ending. No matter what your final verdict is, I believe it’s still something worth reading if only for the experience. It reminds me of Haruki Murakami conversations, combined with Koji Suzuki horror. I won’t say anything more about the plot. It’s really better to read this with as little info as possible. As far as this book is concerned, don’t overthink and just enjoy the ride. ⁣

I highly recommend this if you like fever dreams, psychological horror, and if you’re looking not for the what but the HOW. It could be pretty obvious what the “big reveal” will be, but it’s just so gripping and atmospheric. I loved it until the very end. I was creeped out, then scared, and then very, very sad. I love books that can take me on an emotional roller coaster. ⁣

When I found out that the adaptation is written and directed by Charlie Kaufman (writer of Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), needless to say I was super thrilled and the possibility that I wouldn’t like it didn’t even cross my mind.

Sadly, here we are in today’s episode of Another Disappointing Book Adaptation 💔

A lot of the unforgettable scenes for me (bathroom scene, pig story, school janitor scene, etc.) were not there, not to mention the CONVERSATIONS. The film is also very talky, and I appreciate how Kaufman owned the script. I just felt it became more highfalutin than the original was. The novel is so well-written that it manages to be profound without being pretentious.

I loved the way it explored identity, humanity, and our concept of reality.

So of course I was looking forward to this same level of merit, especially since the visuals from the film’s promo materials had stunning aesthetics and features a truly stellar cast.

The film was mainly successful in creating uncomfortable and creepy vibes but it lacked the horror and the shock factor. It was also too confusing and lacked structure so that some of the insightful content was lost. There was just so much potential from the book wasted. I feel almost sorry that I won’t be able to watch this film without comparing it to the book. Or maybe my expectations were set too high because I loved Eternal Sunshine. It’s probably a bit of both.

I can only imagine how baffling the film would be to anyone watching it without prior knowledge of the book. I will not attempt to explain the story or its ending here because I cannot do justice to the experience of reading the book, and the film might have wanted to communicate an entirely different concept anyway from what I’ve seen. Honestly at this point I’m not exactly sure as to what that might be, nor am I interested to find out. I’d rather file this one under Uninspiring Artsy Art Films and forget about the disappointment. Instead of the emotional roller coaster, it became a meandering cold walk in a sleepy street.

I apologize if I sound like I am discouraging you from watching the film. Please do watch it and I sincerely hope you enjoy it more than I did. This just wasn’t for me. Hopefully it will be loved by the general audience and that people will be intrigued enough to read its source material.

Have you seen the film, or read the book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

“Something that disorients, that unsettles what’s taken for granted, something that disturbs and disrupts reality—that’s scary.”

Iain Reid, I’m Thinking of Ending Things

12 thoughts on “Pages Feature: “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” by Iain Reid + Thoughts on the Netflix Adaptation

  1. Perfect timing haha because a friend just recommended the movie, but I still haven’t read the book. I guess I’ll lower my expectation if I go in to it. Thank you for this review! ❤️


  2. Very intriguing. The quotes you shared are really good. Sorry to hear about the adaptation. Most books to screen are like that, no? I have a friend who never watches anything he has read because it will never be as good as the one he imagined.


  3. Ahhh!! I can TOTALLY understand your frustration with the adaptation, hon! But….your thoughts on the book – WOW!!!! I am…just…IO really really need to read this book – RIGHT FUCKING NOW!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤


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