I am experimenting with a new blogging program for my computer, so I may have some difficulty with formatting for a small bit, so my apologies.
After I finished Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh, I just kind of sat there for a little bit. This was one of those books that I picked up on a whim to read at night, but got so sucked into the book that I wanted to read it immediately after waking up. The funny thing is that it is not an easy book to read at all. Eileen is mostly an unlikable character who has so many character flaws that I would never want to meet her on the street, so to speak.
The book itself is about the title character Eileen and told from the perspective of an older Eileen looking back at a moment in her 20s. In this moment, we know that Eileen lives with her drunk father, whom she keeps drunk to make life livable. There will be a woman named Rebecca who will come into her life and change it forever. She will also run away from her home a few days from the book start, a few days before Christmas. This is what we know from the beginning.
Throughout the book, we also know Eileen has a poor self image of herself. You will read lots of descriptions of herself, especially her breasts, which she is not proud of. She hates the way she looks, her confidence level, and how pathetic she is.
We will also get into Eileen's head, which is a very scary place. She daydreams about killing her father, icicles falling through her, getting raped, and all sorts of other fantasies. Eileen opens herself to the reader in all sorts of ways. She does not hold back as a narrator.
Finally, we will learn that Eileen's favorite topic is Eileen. She loves talking about herself, even in her own self loathing. One may even paint her as a psychopath of sorts. But, aren't we all in how we look at ourselves and what slips through our minds at times.
As stated in the beginning, I sort of loved this book, while disliking it at the same time. Eileen is not an easy character to like at all. She is not the sympathetic narrator, who happens to be in a rough life. She is in a rough life and thrives there a bit because she reflects her world. Yet, she is so fascinating at the same time. Wouldn't you love to really hear what others are thinking?
The writing also draws the reader in. It is written as literary fiction, so the sentences flow with some amazing descriptions. It isn't written too highly though that it distracts from the text. This sounds like older Eileen, who is now more experienced and has had 3 husbands herself, talking about her younger self and her own inexperience.
With that written, this is not a book for everyone. It is up for the shortlist for Booker award, so that says a bit about it too. I gave this one 4 stars with the desire never to read it again.
Here is your Amazon link- Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh