My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh Book Review
“Sleep felt productive. Something was getting sorted out. I knew in my heart—this was, perhaps, the only thing my heart knew back then—that when I’d slept enough, I’d be okay.”
In all honesty, I picked up this book at Barnes and Noble because I had seen it on Tiktok and Pinterest. This book has a very unique and beautiful cover, hence its popularity on social media sites obsessed with aesthetics. The cover is a Neoclassical oil painting created by Jacques-Louis David in 1798 titled “Portrait of a Young Woman in White”. The elegant painting features a moody young woman staring into the distance. The unconventional book cover perfectly establishes the offbeat, humorous, yet painstakingly beautiful story that this novel tells.
The plot of My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh is described by GoodReads as “a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs designed to heal our heroine from her alienation from this world”. This quick summary seems to raise more questions than answers; but, the plot of this book is difficult to explain to those who haven’t read it. Essentially, the nameless narrator of this novel embarks on a journey to avoid her earthly problems by sleeping for an entire year. She does this with the help of powerful sleeping drugs.
Should you read it?
I particularly enjoyed this book, giving it 5 stars. I devoured it in two days, eager to finish and explore the spoiler-filled reviews on Tiktok and GoodReads. Despite my fast reading of it, I felt fully immersed in the glitzy, materialistic, and privileged world of the nameless narrator. While her actions and treatment of other people are in no way justifiable, this novel understands that and lets her careless lifestyle serve as an amusing examination of a selfish 2000-and-something New Yorker.
Overall, the book was beautifully written. It is smart, humorous, and emotionally driven, and proves itself to be an all-around good read. I would recommend this novel to those who don’t mind unlikeable narrators and novels in which almost(seemingly) nothing happens. I personally found it very exciting; the whole book deep dives into every facet of the narrator’s life and her quest for sleeping. Some of it is a little offbeat and quirky, but I’m sure the early 2000’s upper east sider aspect is sure to appeal to many teenage readers. Ultimately, I was impressed with this book, I look forward to reading more from Moshfegh.
“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.”
For more book recommendations, read Taylor Jenkins Reid: Worth the Hype?