mood music: twilight – Bôa
My first read of 2024…a disappointment. I had high hopes as it was adapted into a film starring Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie, but it was tough even at a short 197 pages on ebook.
Eileen is narrated by the aforementioned woman, now in her seventies, as she recounts her last week in her hometown, a small snowy city in New England she calls X-ville. Raised by two alcoholic parents, twenty-four-year-old Eileen is a very miserable person with a love for the grotesque. She resides with her severely alcoholic father in their dilapidated home, her mother has since passed when we meet her, and she works at a depressing juvenile detention center as an admin assistant. I tried hard to empathize with Eileen as her upbringing molded her into the person she became but was never able to read her as anything less than very unlikeable and having a lot of internalized misogyny. It seemed like this book should have had a subplot where Eileen only lists everything she hates. To get an idea, I’ll include a short list of the things she hates below:
Rock and Roll music
Anyway, all this changes with the arrival of Rebecca Saint John, a beautiful Harvard education woman tasked with developing the academic curriculum at the juvenile detention center. Eileen is immediately fascinated with Rebecca, unsure if she wants to be with her or be her. Fascination quickly turns into obsession, and the two women’s worlds collide in a matter of days. This is until Rebecca reveals something to Eileen at the climax of the story, which happens so late I didn’t care. If that point was fleshed out, it would have lent itself better to the story. Instead, it felt like a very rushed way to wrap up the story with sloppy shock value.