Mark Reads ‘John Dies At The End’: Chapter 1

In the first chapter of John Dies at the End, I understand absolutely nothing. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read John Dies at the End.

Chapter One: The Levitating “Jamaican”


Unfortunately, this story does not take place in Los Angeles.


I do feel like this accurately captures one of the things that makes me feel strange about this book. Without a single answer to any of the questions I had due to the prologue, I’m left feeling like this book is being absurd for the sake of it. Let me follow that sentence with this: I still have no idea what’s going on, so I know it’s possible that everything here has meaning, that there is no weirdness for the sake of it. But why include this line about L.A.? Why introduce so many disparate and confusing details with no indication as to why they’re happening. What I suspect is my experience is intentional, though. The writer of this book is dropping us into this fictional world and hoping that we know how to swim. (So, if David Wong is the main character, who the fuck wrote this?) We are meant to feel bewildered and lost.

If that’s the case, then this is pretty damn effective, y’all.

I once saw a man’s kidneys grow tentacles, tear itself out of a ragged hole in his back and go slapping across my kitchen floor.


It’s always like this when I’m on the sauce. I dosed six hours ago.

What the fuck is the sauce? Okay, so it’s some type of drug, but what does it do? Why does David do it? WHAT IS HAPPENING?

In half a second I counted 5,289 grains of rice on her plate. The rice was grown in Arkansas. The guy who ran the harvester was nicknamed “Cooter.”

Okay, so that’s what the drug does? That’s an impressive talent. But… how? What? David demonstrates this again with his plastic cutlery, and then with Arnie, the reporter he’s agreed to talk to about his and John’s lives. So why talk to a reporter now? How have John and David collected a “following”? I get the sense that the Internet has played a big part in this, but I’m not really sure. Of course, I’m unsure about most of this. David lies to Arnie like five times in the first few minutes, so how much is he lying to us? How much can we trust him? This is a fascinating first-person narrative in that sense, because the entire section about the party David was at three years prior feels more like David talking to Arnie. Or is he talking to us? I think it’s the former, so I’m curious to know what details he’s leaving out. Will the entire book be a recount of what has led John and David to this bizarre life?

I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS! Oh god, I feel like half my reviews of this book will just be that. Lord.

So, after David demonstrates his ability to read things (like the dates on coins in Arnie’s pocket or the dream Arnie had the night before), we flash back to a “few years” prior, where John’s shitty band opens at some party that is happening for some reason. It’s not important. What is important is how David’s interaction with the Fake Jamaican brings about all this weirdness. And it is a lot of weirdness, y’all.

  • Why is Molly strangely more aware than she should be? It’s like she belongs in The Immortals quartet, you know? I DON’T GET IT?
  • Why is Robert pretending to be a stereotype? I don’t feel like this is a throwaway detail?
  • So, I assume he’s able to actually levitate. Therefore: HOW?
  • I then thought that since David and Robert were both able to correctly read someone’s dream, it had to do with the sauce. It still might, I suppose, but how does David experience what happens at the end of this chapter if he isn’t on the sauce? I guess this is my way of questioning the logistics of the drug. Does it alter perception to allow you to see more than others do? If that’s the case, then how did Robert affect David’s physical perception by writing the message on David’s hand and make him throw up the centipede?
  • Robert brings up a fantastic point: How does one’s subconscious mind predict the future so that you are given a dream that perfectly corresponds with outside stimuli so that you’re shocked out of sleep? This has happened to me before!!! SO WHY. WHY.
  • Why does John sing about camels? This is inconsequential, but I’d still like to know.
  • How does whatever power Robert have allow him to see the future? Also: what the fuck.

I’m so lost, y’all. Again, I’m sure that’s the point, but that thought doesn’t make me feel any better about how confused I am. What the fuck!

Heads up: I apologize for this, but the slur “spastic” slipped by me in the first video. I’ll do my best not to say it in upcoming videos.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Mark Links Stuff

– I have redesigned! Check out this post explaining the new changes, which includes the start of a permanent archive of all Mark Watches videos!
The Mark Does Stuff Summer Tour is happening soon! Check out the posted dates, suggest new ones, help bring me to YOUR TOWN.
– I have been nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Writer category! If you’d like more information or to direct friends/family to vote for me, I have a very informational post about what I do that you can pass along and link folks to!
- Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now published and available for purchase! It’s available in ebook AND physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buying the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $25 for 7 BOOKS!!!
- Video commissions are open, and you can commission a Mark Reads/Watches video for just $25!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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