My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh (2018)

my year

L: 5/10

M: 3/10

Analysis from the darkness, unlit by dark sunglasses:

The set up for My Year of Rest and Relaxation is simple enough; a New Yorker bored with life wants to hit the reset button by traveling down the road with the fewest amount of steps, simply sleeping a year away. There is the groundwork that is laid down, promises of great lows, and a mysterious endgame, and it never really pays off.

I was completely on board for the first half of this book. I thought her never-ending search for more sleep would pay off with disastrous results, severing the few ties she still held with the outside world (maybe even a 9/11 twist), but no, the story just ends. It ends with 9/11, yes, but not nearly in any way that would make such a plot point a point at all. It’s like that one episode of How I Met Your Mother where hidden numbers throughout the episode, counting down to the impending doom which is revealed to the death of a character’s father, except at the end of the countdown a number zero just appears, and the end credits roll.

The protagonist was likable at first, someone just wanting to unplug. She toed the line of unbearably, not being distractingly harsh at first. Her problems didn’t go much deeper than being alone, her vast inheritance and beauty made everyday worries mute and anything she complained about just annoying. As the pages turned, she became more unlikeable, to the point that I was hoping she would sleepwalk her way right into 9/11 and go out with a bang. Instead, her pharmacist slash doctor just continues to prescribe her into oblivion, and the one thing she aimed for becomes unattainable. To sleep, she must go out of her way to lock herself up and sleepwalk on her own terms, until her year is up.

This was a pretty forgettable story, in my opinion, although most of that sentiment is flushed out from a rough second half of the story. I would still be more than willing to read some of her other work, she made a story about sleep pretty enjoyable for the most part.


Analysis from the undeveloped roll of film from 1993: 

There is so very little to even say about this book. It held promise and potential and then failed to deliver on a massive level. When we first started reading all about a young woman’s desire to escape the world and sleep for an entire year, I was intrigued and envious. I even noted that my medicine cabinet held many of the main character’s drugs of choice and contemplated whether I could join. I could use a year of sleep, and if meds are what it takes, then so be it. However, as the book droned on and on with her sleepiness and lack of any other true storyline, I realized the Trazodone was no longer needed, and the dullness of this book would do the trick quite nicely.

Basically, what you have heard is a horrible woman who was hurt and unloved and refuses to do any true work on herself to have a happy life. She uses people, is intolerant, selfish, unkind, lacks empathy, and generally wallows in self-pity. This is her story. She had a childhood void of love and nurture and cannot now cope. I had hoped for some arc or climax. I wanted the sleeping to bring something to fruition, but by the end of the book, I could really care less if she was happy. I might have rather she never wakes up.

This book was draining. I need a nap. Perhaps a year-long one.


Otessa Moshfegh

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