My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh Katya Mills‘s reviewFeb 12, 2021 · edit liked it Our antiprotagonist gets progressively mired in her chosen selfish sedentary life for a year. Like a life experiment with a careless interest in self-transformation, in NYC, 1999. She lies to her psychiatrist about her use of prescriptions for no apparent reason, as the psychiatrist has no moral or ethical compass to begin with, just a professional hiding behind a lot of jargon and bullshit. Ever met anyone like that? The character closest to real is her best friend Reva yet she is the most annoying and pathetic of them all. Materialistic. Superficial. Zero self-worth. Dependent on guys who use her. They both are. Maybe this is why they are friends. I liked the book, laughed a lot. Some very funny one liners. But not as much as Eileen. Maybe the main character was too sad and jaded. A product of her environment. Maybe it came too close to how life can feel in 21st century America when it’s at its worst. When you give up and are rich enough not to have any responsibilities, and you care but not really.
Set in Chicago in 1999, four friends carry their broken hearts into the new century. Busking, drinking to keep warm, couch surfing…amidst a landscape of dot-com era corporate growth and nihilism. Walk alongside them in this cool and captivating story of love and music, heartache, misfortune, and redemption. An honest portrayal of a disaffected generation coming of age, from the mind of Katya Mills, author of Grand Theft Life, Maze, and Girl Without Borders.
I am excited to have found Ottessa and I very much respect her as a contemporary. She has a unique voice and her characters are so flawed and human, all of them. I found this story to be incredibly compelling out the gate! I was happy to be inside Eileen’s head, as she has some wild imagination in her train wreck of a life. The characters around her were no less compelling, especially as she sized each one of them up. I will be reading more books by this author, the next being My Year of Rest and Relaxation. I’m currently reading this book in paperback, which is a pleasant change after so many e-books. Only problem is I have to use a headlamp after dark. Anyways, it’s the kind of thing I could see Eileen doing. Wearing a headlamp while reading in the attic, and her dad coming up there to call her names and her wishing he would get struck in the head by a falling icicle. The only major disappointment of this story to me was the ending. I don’t know exactly why I was disappointed. Something about the use of the narrator as an older woman looking back on her life didn’t work for me. And just the outcome of the story didn’t work for me. It wasn’t really credible or natural an ending. Nevertheless, I was left feeling happy I picked the book up and for sure would recommend it to some people but not my parents. They don’t like the stories I write, either. So that’s a real compliment.
How could i harbor ill will toward you in your panda bear pajamas? i asked you please take them off so we could go on fighting. you were making the funny sounds only pandas make. you refused the burgers i cooked us for lunch. i found you terrorizing the plants. thank god the kid was at school. i shoved you in our pet carrier, drove you to the sanctuary and released you deep in the forest. you bounded away. i was at home reading the newspaper days later when i heard and saw your paws on the glass. you were staring at me, head swollen with white hairs growing heavy on your face. such dark circles under and around your eyes. fortunately the kid was at school. i opened the door and you bolted in. you climbed the staircase by the banister and went to hide. i found you in the laundry basket with our clothes. i spoke to you softly. the basket started humming and i knew you understood. all my anger subsided. i could tell your heart was happy. i made a foolish decision, they say. i got myself tiger jammies from deedees, our favorite thrift. the kid was at school. thank god she’s learned the computers so she can pay our bills online, and order all our oats and seeds and plants in bulk from south america. how else would we survive?