My Year of Rest and Relaxation Review

Annie Fields

A satirical, modern-day literary masterpiece, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, by novelist Ottessa Moshfegh, is by far one of the best books I have read.

 The nameless narrator is an attractive and affluent young woman living in New York City who decides to squander her inheritance, beauty and education in a cocktail of pills and sleep. She believes that a year of sleep (hence the title) will allow her to be reborn and wash away all the undesirable elements of her life. While a book narrated by such an arrogant and privileged main character may seem unbearable to read, Moshfegh is able to brilliantly craft this book into something witty and relevant. 

While most young people don’t have a large inheritance to squander by sleeping for a year, the underlying themes of drug use and fatigue make this book

relevant and impactful to young readers. The overexaggerated lethargy of the narrator illuminates the more subtle fatigue spreading through our generation. The narrator completely embodies the seemingly random exhaustion of our generation. The most privileged of girls, doing the most evasive of acts, i.e. sleeping and self-medicating, in an attempt to calm the arbitrary dissatisfaction she feels.

In the less than four years this book has been on the market it has become a New York Times bestseller and developed an active fanbase. The aesthetics of this book are undeniably a major element of its appeal. The use of Jacques-Louis David’s work, Portrait of a Young Woman in White, as the front cover, gives the book an interesting artistic flare and contributes to over-dramatization of the novel.

 Overall, My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a beautifully written novel and a fascinating story that I would highly recommend.