Author: Ottessa Moshfegh
Publisher: Penguin Press (2015)
Length of book: 272 pages
NetGalley synopsis: A lonely young woman working in a boys’ prison outside Boston in the early 60s is pulled into a very strange crime, in a mordant, harrowing story of obsession and suspense, by one of the brightest new voices in fiction.
**I requested a copy of this book for free from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
My Favorite Quote: “It’s a romantic story and it may not be accurate at this point since I’ve gone over it again and again for years whenever I’ve felt it necessary or useful to cry.”
Review: “Eileen” is definitely a story of every girl growing up in a broken home and a filthy town with pretentious faces, huge egos and fake personas. Its the story about how Eileen is born into that negativity, being the youngest of two sisters, and how each and every moment affects her life and its outcomes. The story was special to me because it was not about what she did or how she recovered but how everything in life is not a straight path to hell or heaven. Bipolar parents who can love you one minute and hate you the next and people giving you mixed messages throughout your teenage life can make you confused about how to feel and what to say and that is exactly what Eileen felt up till she was 24. So much so she learnt to put up a “death mask” which was only broken when she could see someone suffering more than her. That’s what she learned…to judge others by their level of suffering in comparison with herself. Her surroundings were disgusting and she learnt to be disgusting. This is the story of how she breaks through and finds the light with all odds against her.
Ms. Moshfegh (the author), definitely, has a very different style of writing from other fictional works that I have read. It has a “My Diary” kind of feel with Eileen’s past stories introduced haphazardly into the book throughout, giving you an insight into this woman’s cluttered mind. Eileen worked in a corrective facility/prison for young juveniles, with no friends and only a schizophrenic alcoholic father to take care while listening to his lashing throughout the day.
“Eileen” is a self-narrated fictional story of a dark and twisty woman. You get to know her daily dark thoughts of misery, her displaced sexual desires and her obsessive compulsive need to belong to any constant she could make up (a dead rat in her car’s glove compartment for instance.) The story is not just about Eileen finding a friend or Eileen finding love, instead its the story about Eileen…“the one who got away.”
I recommend this book to everyone who loves stories about womanhood, about romance and about belonging somewhere told in a beautifully crafted writing style of Ms. Ottessa Moshfegh. It definitely is a bit pricey but it is a book worth reading and putting in your collection.