Diane's Reviews > Eileen

Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
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Apr 28, 2015

it was amazing
bookshelves: top-picks-2015

Just who is Eileen? In a town only referred to as X-ville in Massachusetts lived 24 year old Eileen Dunlop. Some might see her simply as a lonely young woman with low self esteem who cares for her alcoholic ex-cop father. To me, Eileen was much more complex and unbelievably disturbed. I thought she could have easily been a sibling of the Anthony Perkins character in the movie Psycho.

It's the 1960's and poor Eileen has a horrible life. She hated her mother who died a few years earlier, and now cares for her alcoholic, verbally abusive, father. She has no friends, works as a secretary at a correction's facility for troubled,under aged boys. When day is done, she pretty much stops off for booze for her father, returning home to their filthy, disgusting house, and then retreating to a room in the attic.

One day Rebecca, an attractive, educated young woman from work becomes friendly with Eileen, and invites her over one evening. Rebecca's interest in Eileen is self-serving, and leads to an unexpected turn of events for Eileen.

In some ways, after all the buildup, the ending seemed somewhat unsatisfying. Don't get me wrong, Eileen is a fascinating character study. I was glued to her every depraved thought and word. She's a woman who was obsessed and excited by things that would repulse most normal people. [This author can write and dig deep into the psyche]

I read this book while travelling to and from NYC recently, and honestly, could not put it down. It's one of those stories where just when you think things can't get any worst, they do. The story is told from Eileen's perspective now as an old woman, looking back to the month around Christmas when she was 24. Despite my disappointment in the ending, I still highly recommend this to readers who love twisted protagonists.

4.5/5 stars
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