13
Feb
19

“Having a trash chute was one of my favorite things about my building. It made me feel important, like I was participating in the world. My trash mixed with the trash of others. The things I touched touched things other people had touched. I was contributing, I was connecting.” CBR11 Review 8.

UnknownMy Year of Rest and Relaxation was on a bunch of “Best of” lists at the end of 2018, and there was something about the cover that drew me to it. And now that I’ve finished it, while I’m glad I read it to see what the fuss was all about, I honestly have no idea if I liked it or hated it. I think both. But mostly hated it.

We have an unnamed narrator living in Manhattan in 1999-2000. She’s in her 20s, has inherited money (both parents have died), a nice apartment, and a model’s beauty. And she is sleeping for a year.

She’s found herself a crazy quack of a psychiatrist, one willing to prescribe pretty much any and every narcotic known to man. As long as our narrator tells her she has insomnia (which, clearly she doesn’t), the doctor keeps suggesting stronger and stronger medication, which our narrator hoards and mixes to see what keeps her from reality the longest.

She has one friend that keeps her somewhat tethered to the world around her, Reva. Reva comes and goes, with her personal anecdotes helping our narrator keep track of the outside world. Reva invites her to birthday parties, New Year’s Eve celebrations, etc. Our narrator claims that she can’t stand Reva and wants to sever their relationship, but in her weird way, she needs Reva and the tiny slice of human interaction she provides.

Our narrator finds that some of the medication she takes has her going out at night, doing things and meeting people she doesn’t remember. At one point she wakes up on a train, in a white fur coat, on her way to Long Island for Reva’s mother’s funeral, which she had adamantly planned to NOT attend. Makes me think that her sleeping self is probably her true self — the self that says and does the things she really wants to do and is the person she really wants to be, if only she could get clear of the depression she clearly suffers from but doesn’t acknowledge.

I don’t know much about depression or mental illness, but this whole book rubbed me the wrong way. This girl needed help and nobody — even Reva — ever attempts to give her any.

And so, the story goes on and on until (SPOILER ALERT, BUT NOT REALLY SINCE THIS IS ALL CLEARLY LEADING UP TO THIS) September 11, when our narrator “wakes up.”

Look, this book is very well written, and the author really brings this time period alive. The nostalgia factor for me was high. But I have no need to ever read anything again from this writer. I hated everyone in this book and really felt gross about everyone’s actions. The narrator. Her skeevy “boyfriend.” Reva. They all infuriated me.


0 Responses to ““Having a trash chute was one of my favorite things about my building. It made me feel important, like I was participating in the world. My trash mixed with the trash of others. The things I touched touched things other people had touched. I was contributing, I was connecting.” CBR11 Review 8.”



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