Book 12: The Postman Always Rings Twice

Well, this week was easier than expected and I finished The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain (Book 12) on Wednesday. Let me start by saying it is a very short book, and it felt a bit like cheating. However, what it lacks in pages, it makes up in story.


The basic premise of The Postman Always Rings Twice is that the main character decides to try to help his lover kill her annoying husband. What surprised me, without giving too much away, was that (a) the husband hasn’t really done much to deserve being murdered and (b) the protagonists don’t seem that keen on one another anyway. I was very gripped by the story and the characters were well written although the author doesn’t dwell on detail. The ending comes very suddenly, very brutally and hit me hard. I had felt like the natural conclusion was being reached a few pages before the end, and the actual ending felt like a punch in the face and made me feel desperately sad. I’ve thought about this book a lot since Wednesday and it still makes me feel sad. It is a good book. It must be for me to still be thinking about it. That ending will stay with me, like many other books that have made me think.

I would like to say more about this book, but as short and as shocking as it is, it isn’t shocking in the same way I had imagined it would be and I don’t want to spoil it. If you like crime fiction, read it. If you have a couple of hours to spare and are remotely interested, read it. If you want to know whether I’m talking rubbish about the ending, read it. I probably won’t read it again, but I did enjoy it. I didn’t enjoy the ending, but it certainly gave me strong feelings.

Looking back at this post, I don’t think I’ve made much sense. I didn’t want to include spoilers, and in such a short book that leaves me little to say. I would love to hear other opinions on this book though – if you’ve read it, did you have strong feelings about it? It’s the first book in a long time I have loved and hated in the space of just over 100 pages.

I would give The Postman Always Rings Twice 7/10.

Next week, I plan to read Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas.


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