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My Year of Rest and Relaxation : An ode to unconsciousness

My Year of Rest and Relaxation:
My Year of Rest and Relaxation
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For many, a quiet holiday to recharge their batteries and clear their minds is what they think of when they hear about rest and relaxation. In this book, the protagonist, a beautiful 20-something-year-old woman, had a different idea. اضافة اعلان

Deciding to take a yearlong sabbatical from life, the protagonist had only one goal — to sleep for as much of the year as possible.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation follows an unnamed recent college grad who has faced her fair share of hardships, especially after recently becoming orphaned and shortly after leaving a toxic relationship, as she begins to realize that she is unsatisfied with her life.

To set the scene, the protagonist decides to embark on a “project” as a means of coping. She quits her job, leases out her late parents’ home, uses the money from her tenants to pay her bills, and vows to do nothing for a whole year.

Finding a negligent psychiatrist, she acquires various types of “sleeping medication,” and the rest of the novel follows her on her journey to sleep the year away, literally.

The plot of this story is difficult to explain, mostly because it rarely makes an appearance. We are treated to some chapters describing the narrator’s past, some describing her present circumstance, and some simply detailing her Ambien (Zolpidem) fueled thoughts and opinions.

Sleeping indefinitely, to most, means suicide, but not to this unnamed protagonist — if we can even refer to her as such. Instead, she decided that all she needs is a full year of practically nothing but sleep for her to wake up a new woman.

It is fascinating to follow the musings of a woman who does, in theory, have it all. She ticks most of the boxes that society deems important: beautiful, intelligent, rich, blonde, and skinny. And yet she is engulfed with hate, or at the very least, immense disdain for every aspect of her existence.

Readers are left in the dark, for the most part, as to why the protagonist chooses to embark on this project. Her reasoning was clear as far as my interpretation could take me; she wanted to sleep off all of the grotesque and mind-numbing parts of existence.
Perhaps, with enough rest and relaxation, she can wake up with a new brain and perspective on life. She can sleep away from her dissatisfaction.
Through a slumber so long, she hopes to eradicate the existence of opportunistic men, negligent mothers, detached fathers, and surface-level friends. But even more than that, she hopes to sleep away her own mind.

Perhaps, with enough rest and relaxation, she can wake up with a new brain and perspective on life. She can sleep away from her dissatisfaction.

In the “girl boss” era, women feel like they have to do it all. They have to be Pinterest perfect mothers, high achieving career women, have an active social life, and maintaining their romantic relationships, all the while being effortlessly beautiful. Nothing can be left by the wayside, and there is no room for error. Anything less than perfection is a failure.

This book perhaps reveals the modern woman’s most hedonistic desire: to do nothing. To feel no obligations, quit your job, let your hair become a rat’s nest, and act like a slob in public.
This book perhaps reveals the modern woman’s most hedonistic desire: to do nothing.
The sweet siren call to the modern woman is the promise that you will not have to worry about your bills, looks, and obligations. Zero external factors can affect you. You do not need to worry about the news, fashion, or societal norms. All you have to do is get some rest. And My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a welcome deviation from this overstimulation.

But there is a sense of bitter irony to this whole tale. Our narrator still takes perverse pleasure because, despite not trying, she is still an object of envy.

Even while she is living like a slob, she still possesses a modelesque beauty. Moreover, her immense privilege of being able to quit her job while still living comfortably in one of the most expensive cities in the world is not gone unnoticed or unnoted.

In today’s world, the ultimate desire to have it all as a woman — with little to no effort is clearly illustrated in the book. And with the narration, a dark comedy turns into almost pure fantasy.

I profusely enjoyed every second of reading this book, but I cannot say that it will be universally appreciated. The lack of plot but the surfeit of introspective rambling does edge between tiring and engaging, but for those like me, who do not require action to be engaged, this book is worth picking up.

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