The Behind the Page Book Review

December 17, 2022

A look at some recent reads flooding social media pages and flying off the bookshelves. With award winning titles before you, we recommend you head to your local book store to take a peek at these covers. Whether you have heard these authors names before or not, this book review is worth your while.


My Years of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

6.5 / 10
Ottessa Moshfegh writes about a young woman disassociating from modern society. The opening chapter reveals a lot about the protagonist as a person, as well as her mental state. She is a young Columbia graduate living in the Upper East side. Her parents have recently passed away, and her relationship with her boyfriend and best friend are ambivalent at best. While she attempts to sleep for a year, under the influence of questionable psychiatric help and self-prescribed medication, we see her digress further away from society and her relationships with others. Not only does she find comfort in her isolation, but she sees it as necessary. At times, her thought process is flawed and incoherent, but that adds to the main idea of the book: the power of self-isolation. My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a disturbing yet intriguing book. Moshfegh creates an disagreeable and almost insufferable protagonist, who can become very hard to read. This book poses just how unlikeable a character can be while also being relatable. Something most people can find comfort in is alone time. While most people’s alone time might not be as extreme as the protagonist’s, there are aspects to her life that most can most definitely relate to.

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

7.0 / 10

The story follows a 21-year-old college student named Frances Flynn. She performs poetry with her best friend Bobby at local venues in Dublin, where they meet a photographer named Melissa. Frances’ life dramatically changes following her friendship with Melissa, entering a world of microcelebrities and wealth, something she had not really been exposed to before. Through this world she meets Melissa’s husband, Nick, marking the beginning of a complex relationship that evolves into an affair. Like most relationships in her life, it is lacking in communication and filled with subtle undertones. Sally Rooney’s writing is frustrating at times. Her complete disregard for the use of commas and quotation marks make the conversations between characters hard to follow. At times the two characters’ sentences tend to blend, and it is confusing and difficult to distinguish the speakers from their lines . Other than that, the actual storyline of the book is very interesting. Frances puts her life into her work in poetry, and at times it feels as though she views the world as a television program that she is watching rather than living. Her perception of the world and her relationship with Nick, both work to make this book intriguing to read and complex.

Let Me Tell You What I Mean by Joan Didion

9.0 / 10

This book is unique, because it is filled with stories dating from the early 1960s to the late 2000s. Even though some of these are as old as fifty years, they remain relevant in today’s society. Out of all of them, the one most readers might be able to relate to is On Being Unchosen by the College of One’s Choice. Here she tackles the notion that the things with utmost importance in our lives must be done perfectly and flawlessly (such as going to college); she goes on to claim that, in reality, it is alright if things don’t go as planned and we mess up. We should find happiness in life as things go along and appreciate the outcome regardless. A collection of short stories about Didion’s life provide a glimpse into the world through her eyes and her thought process. Her pieces share her insights and experiences about politics, women, life, and the writing process. Her distinctive takes on rejection, child-parent dynamics, and writing create a sense of relatability with her audience. Didion’s writing style is concise, persistent, and sharp, which all add to an intensely capturing piece.

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