By Ottessa Moshfegh
This dark novel is about Eileen, a 24-year old young woman who lives with her alcoholic father in a small, provincial New England town. Eileen does not have a happy life, and she certainly does not struggle to rise above her situation. One day a new woman walks into her workplace and Eileen suddenly takes charge of her life. In this novel Eileen looks back at her 24 year-old self, and tells you her peculiar coming of age story.
What did it make me think about?
Ottessa Moshfegh is an interesting writer. Her characters are dark and disturbed. Although I see the brilliance and complexity of the novel- I did not like the book at all. In the end you are left to wrestle with the question- did Eileen finally empower and save herself, or cross the line into evil?
Should I read it?
I have liked many dark books so I am not sure why this one was so difficult for me to get through. I just wasn’t that interested. This book was critically acclaimed and I had high hopes for it but it just left me cold. If you prefer to like some of the characters in the story- then skip this book. If you want a dark, psychological story then pick this one up. It is well written and very different.
“Of course his drinking put a strain on me as a young person. It made me very tense and edgy. That happens when one lives with an alcoholic. My story in that sense is not unique. I’ve lived with many alcoholic men over the years, and each has taught me that it is useless to worry, fruitless to ask why, suicide to ry to help them. They are who they are,, for better or worse. Now I live alone. Happily. Gleefully, even.”