Review: My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
In Ottessa Moshfegh's novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, a beautiful, blonde twenty-something (the narrator of the novel) in pre-9-11 New York decides to use prescription medications to more or less sleep through a year. Living off the inheritance she received after her parents died, the young woman is laughably lazy and pretty much a complete asshole. For most of the book the only people she interacts with with any regularity are her incompetent, prescription-happy psychiatrist, Dr. Tuttle, an on-again-off-again jerk of a boyfriend Trevor, and Reva, her one friend, who maintains loyalty to the narrator despite being treated like shit by her.
My feelings about My Year of Rest and Relaxation changed quite a bit as I progressed through it. Early on, I found the novel fun and amusing; however, those feelings quickly turned to disgust as the narrator/ protagonist slipped further and further into being a completely useless, misanthropic, chemically dependent wreck. When the narrator hatches a plan to sleep for months straight, using a particularly strong drug which wipes the memory of the narrator for days at a time, I worried that the novel would ultimately be one of those books that left me feeling annoyed and disappointed. Miraculously though, Moshfegh manages to perfectly stick the novel's ending (no spoilers here!), which in turn flipped my opinion on the book once more--leaving me surprisingly moved and satisfied.