Books & Writing

John Dies at the End by David Wong: Book Review

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Obtained: Purchased @ Indigo
Pages: 466
Publish date: December 24, 2012
Rating: ★★★★

I saw John Dies at the End sitting on a shelf in my favourite bookstore, looking very lonely and left out. I think this was before people knew there existed a movie. But there it sat, and I was instantly drawn in by the cleverness of the title. It tells you how it ends, now that’s something new and saying quite a bit about storytelling, or the purpose of stories. Well since the title makes you think about these sorts of issues (why spoilers may not make a difference to the overall story and its message), I don’t really care about one of the spoilers I’m going to drop later in this review. But if you’re the sort of person who cares about this kind of thing a little too much, you should stop reading now.

Like, right now.

Here’s the spoiler. John doesn’t even die at the end. He dies in the middle. The misleading nature of the title didn’t even phase me, I was much too excited by the sheer wittiness and hilarity of John Dies at the End. Depending on the kind of person you are, this book could be considered a horror, a sci fi, or a comedy. I like to fancy it a little of all three, with a hint of satire.

Essentially the plot is as follows: David Wong and his friend, John, go to a party. John gets involved with a drug dealer and gets hold of something that really messes him up. A bunch of messed up stuff goes down. You are philosophically changed.

The film doesn’t capture the philosophy of John Dies at the End quite as much as the novel, so if you’re wondering what you should spend your time on, I wholeheartedly vote the novel. The dialogue is witty and absolutely hilarious. The characters are intriguing and I cared for them quite a bit. And the weirdness of the world will have you wanting to know more from beginning to end.

To be honest, I feel like this book merits a re-read. By the time I hit the conclusion, I was so confused, but the easy-going and funny nature of the book made me not dread having to go through the novel one more time to try to better understand the complicated ideas behind it. If you at all like science fiction or horror, I really recommend this book to you. And if you don’t, I recommend it anyway.

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