What do you think?
Rate this book
289 pages, Paperback
First published July 10, 2018
I'd wake up to find voice messages on my cell phone from salons or spas confirming appointments I'd booked in my sleep. I always called back to cancel, which I hated doing because I hated talking to peopleI thought I would find part of her relatable. The thought didn't last.
I steered clear of anything that might pique my intellect or make me envious or anxious. I kept my head down.But again, this was just a tantalising glimpse at what could have been a harrowing story about turning yourself inside out to escape your own demons. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, this book was about a disgusting selfish woman who slept a year away.
Studied grace is not graceor
Having a trash chute was one of my favorite things about my building. It made me feel important, like I was participating in the world. My trash mixed with the trash of others. The things I touched touched things other people had touched. I was contributing. I was connecting.Is this book for real? Yes.
He wasn’t interested in understanding himself or evolving. He just wanted to shock people. And he wanted people to love and despise him for it.Sigh. Kill me now.
Reva could never soberly admit to any desire that was remotely uncouth. But she wasn’t perfect. “She’s no white lily,” as my mother would have said. I’d known for years that Reva was bulimic. I knew she masturbated with an electric neck massager because she was too embarrassed to buy a proper vibrator from a sex shop. I knew she was deep in debt from college and years of maxed-out credit cards, and that she shoplifted testers from the beauty section of the health food store near her apartment on the Upper West Side.The narrator's therapist seemed like a potential source of dark humor but I didn't have the energy to laugh. After the narrator reminds the therapist for the umpteenth time that her mother died of an overdose, she says “People like your mother,” Dr. Tuttle replied, shaking her head, “give psychotropic medication a bad reputation.” What has my life come to?
Mine was a quest for a new spirit.And it succeeds I guess because the story ends with her saying
Pain is not the only touchstone for growth, I said to myself. My sleep had worked. I was soft and calm and felt things.I am not soft. I am not calm. I am rage. Fuck this book and everything it stands for.
But did I care? I didn’t think so. If Reva’s body was hanging by the neck behind the bath curtain, I might have just gone home.
I wondered if I might be dead, and I felt no sorrow, only worry over the afterlife, if it was going to be just like this, just as boring. If I’m dead, I thought, let this be the end. The silliness. At some point I got up to guzzle water from the tap in the kitchen. When I stood upright afterward, I started to go blind. The fluorescent lights were on overhead. The edges of my vision turned black. Like a cloud, the darkness came and rested in front of my eyes. I could move my eyes up and down, but the black cloud stayed fixed. Then it grew, widening. I buckled down to the kitchen floor and splayed out on the cold tile. I was going to sleep now, I hoped. I tried to surrender. But I would not sleep. My body refused. My heart shuddered. My breath caught. Maybe now is the moment, I thought: I could drop dead right now. Or now. Now. But my heart kept up its dull bang bang, thudding against my chest…
I was “on drugs.” I took upwards of a dozen pills a day. But it was all very regulated, I thought. It was all totally above board. I just wanted to sleep all the time. I had a plan. “I’m not a junkie or something,” I said defensively. “I’m taking some time off. This is my year of rest and relaxation.”
I took a Polaroid of her one night and stuck it into the frame of the mirror in the living room. Reva thought it was a loving gesture, but the photo was really meant as a reminder of how little I enjoyed her company if I felt like calling her later while I was under the influence.
After a minute or two of silence, she looked up at me and put a finger under her nose—something she did when she was about to start crying. It was like an Adolf Hitler impression. I pulled my sweater over my head and grit my teeth and tried not to laugh while she sputtered and whined and tried to compose herself.
Reva scratched at an itch that, on my own, I couldn’t reach. Watching her take what was deep and real and painful and ruin it by expressing it with such trite precision gave me reason to think Reva was an idiot, and therefore I could discount her pain, and with it, mine. Reva was like the pills I took. They turned everything, even hatred, even love, into fluff I could bat away.
oh, sleep. nothing else could ever bring me such pleasure, such freedom, the power to feel and move and think and imagine, safe from the miseries of my waking consciousness. I was not a narcoleptic—I never fell asleep when I didn’t want to. I was more of a somniac. A somnophile. I’d always loved sleeping. It was one thing my mother and I had enjoyed doing together when I was a child. She was not the type to sit and watch me draw or read me books or play games or go for walks in the park or bake brownies. We got along best when we were asleep.
Try to sleep on your side when possible. There was recently a study in Australia that said that when you sleep on your back, you’re more likely to have nightmares about drowning. It’s not conclusive, of course, since they’re on the opposite side of the Earth. So actually, you might want to try sleeping on your stomach instead, and see what that does.
I was finally doing something that really mattered. Sleep felt productive. Something was getting sorted out. I knew in my heart—this was, perhaps, the only thing my heart knew back then—that when I’d slept enough, I’d be okay. I’d be renewed, reborn. I would be a whole new person, every one of my cells regenerated enough times that the old cells were just distant, foggy memories. My past life would be but a dream, and I could start over without regrets, bolstered by the bliss and serenity that I would have accumulated in my year of rest and relaxation.
an unfortunate shift occurred. The carefree tranquility of sleep gave way to a startling subliminal rebellion—I began to do things while I was unconscious.
In the elevator back up to my apartment, I thought up combinations of pills that I hoped would put me out—Ambien plus Placidyl plus Theraflu. Solfoton plus Ambien plus Dimetapp. I wanted a cocktail that would arrest my imagination and put me into a deep, boring, inert sleep. I needed to 19 1 dispose of those photographs. Nembutal plus Ativan plus Benadryl. ........... I watched Driving Miss Daisy and Sling Blade. I took a Nembutal and drank half a bottle of Robitussin. I watched The World According to Garp and Stargate and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and Moonstruck and Flashdance, then Dirty Dancing and Ghost, then Pretty Woman.
I wanted to be an artist, but I had no talent,” I told her. “Do you really need talent?” That might have been the smartest thing Reva ever said to me. “Yes,” I replied.