from my bookshelf: my year of rest and relaxation by ottessa moshfegh


this book reminds me of a modern day relative of sylvia plath’s the bell jar. and like the bell jar, it’s not exactly a feel good story. but the writing is divine. i could not put this book down, even though it was difficult to read. the narrator is in her 20s. she has recently lost both of her parents and, although she has everything a girl her age would want (money, good looks, intelligence), she feels utterly lost and alone. she falls and stumbles through an unbearable time, high on prescription pills she gets from her incredibly irresponsible psychiatrist for most of it. the whole time i was reading it, i just kept hoping she’d eventually see some light.


“This was good, I thought. I was finally doing something that really mattered. Sleep felt productive. Something was getting sorted out. I knew in my heart–this was, perhaps, the only thing my heart knew back that–that when I’d slept enough, I’d be okay. I’d be renewed, reborn. I would be a whole new person, every one of my cells regenerated enough times that the old cells were just distant, foggy memories. My past life would be but a dream, and I could start over without regrets, bolstered by the bliss and serenity that I would have accumulated in my year of rest and relaxation.”

“In my waking hours, I often though about my parents’ house–its nooks and corners, the way a room looked in the morning, in the afternoon, in the still of the night during summer, the soft yellow light of the streetlamp out front glinting off the polished wooden furniture in the den.”

“There were moments when I was little, my mother could make me feel very special, stroking my hair, her perfume sweet and light, her pale, bony hands cool and jangling with gold bracelets, her frosted hair, her lipstick, breath woody with smoke and stringent from booze.”

“My hope was that I’d healed enough over half a year’s hibernation, I’d become immune to painful memories.”

“There she is, a human being, diving into the unknown, and she is wide awake.”