7 Books Like My Year Of Rest And Relaxation

Mental Health Fiction Books

In the wake of Ottessa Moshfegh’s “My Year of Rest and Relaxation,” a novel that deftly combines dark humor with a profound exploration of solitude and self-transformation, many readers find themselves searching for the next book that can similarly captivate and challenge them. This novel, with its unique premise of a woman’s year-long hibernation from the world in an attempt to reset her life, resonates deeply in today’s fast-paced society.

If you’re one of those readers eager to dive into more stories that blend the absurd with the deeply introspective, exploring themes of isolation, mental health, and the pursuit of an elusive inner peace, you’re in the right place. We’ve curated a list of books that mirror the provocative nature and introspective depth of Moshfegh’s masterpiece. Each selection promises to take you on a journey through the complexities of the human psyche, challenging perceptions and illuminating the beauty in the breakdown.

7 Books Like My Year Of Rest And Relaxation (Mental Health Fiction)

“My Year of Rest and Relaxation” addresses provocative themes such as addiction, self-destruction, and the quest for transcendence. Reading books about characters working through their feelings and attempting to work on their mental health has become one of my favorite pastimes. In no other way can I dive deep and understand someone and their thought processes. Here are seven literature and mental health books similar to My Year Of Rest And Relaxation.

These novels offer a deep exploration of the protagonist’s psyche, providing readers with a nuanced portrayal of her motivations, desires, and inner turmoil. Witnessing the protagonist’s journey towards self-discovery and understanding is both compelling and illuminating, offering insights into the complexities of human nature.

NameKey FocusTropes
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria SempleBernadette Fox, a reclusive, once-famous architect, mysteriously disappears, prompting her daughter Bee to share her whereabouts through a series of documents and correspondence.Epistolary narrative, mother-daughter relationship, agoraphobia, satire of upper middle class, mental health exploration, mystery and adventure, critique of tech industry culture, quirky characters, family dynamics, identity and self-discovery.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail HoneymanA poignant exploration of loneliness, the importance of human connection, and the journey of self-healing and transformation of an awkward, socially isolated woman.Social isolation, dark past trauma, quirky protagonist, unlikely friendships, mental health and therapy, alcoholism, workplace dynamics, romantic misunderstandings, acts of kindness, personal growth and resilience.
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda HolmesA heartwarming story of second chances, exploring the budding relationship between a young widow and a former Major League pitcher, both seeking to overcome their past and start anew.Widowhood, starting over, secrets and lies, healing from trauma, sports and rehabilitation, small-town setting, friendship to romance, personal growth, overcoming grief, life-changing encounters.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia PlathA profound and introspective novel about a young woman’s struggle with identity, depression, and the societal pressures of femininity, set against the backdrop of 1950s America.Mental illness, coming-of-age, feminist critique, autobiographical inspiration, existential crisis, societal expectations, treatment of women, isolation and alienation, suicide attempt, search for identity.
Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman PhDAn emotional story offers insights and strategies for parents to understand, respect, and validate their children’s emotions, fostering emotional intelligence and stronger parent-child relationships.Emotional coaching, parent-child communication, empathy development, validation of feelings, emotional self-regulation, conflict resolution, academic and social success, authoritative parenting, emotional awareness, resilience building.
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel A. van der KolkA complex impact of trauma on the mind, body, and brain, offering groundbreaking insights into healing and recovery.Trauma and its effects, neuroscience of trauma, mind-body connection, PTSD, healing and therapy, somatic experiences, personal narratives, innovative treatment methods, emotional resilience, neuroplasticity.
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna KaysenA candid memoir that recounts the author’s experiences as a young woman in a psychiatric hospital in the 1960s, challenging perceptions of mental illness and the nature of sanity.Memoir of mental illness, institutional life, questioning sanity, personal growth in confinement, critique of psychiatric practices, female experience and identity, rebellion against societal norms, friendship amidst adversity, the thin line between sanity and insanity, self-discovery.
Books Like My Year Of Rest And Relaxation List

1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette

This is told through the perspective of emails and letters to put together this idea of who Bernadette is. Her daughter Bee puts together these letters and memos to determine where her mom went because Bernadette disappeared. Bernadette is an architect who has recently moved to Seattle with her husband, and they live in an abandoned girl’s school.

All the neighbors hate her, and she’s a creative genius with nowhere to put her creative energy. One of the topics that this book discusses is undiagnosed mental illness. That’s a huge theme of this book, like My Year Of Rest And Relaxation. They also talk about social anxiety, depression, insomnia, adjustment disorder, and the importance of self-care even after you’ve had children.

I loved this book because it’s a witty and light way to discuss heavy topics. They’re broaching serious mental health and illness topics, but it’s done in a light and funny way. The story follows Bernadette and her daughter Bee, trying to figure out where she went. Also, it’s putting together the pieces of this woman’s life from the traces of what she’s left behind. There’s a film, and I watched it recently on Hulu.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Author: Maria Semple
Award nominee: Goodreads Choice
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Average Rating: 4.3/5
Tropes: Humorous Fiction, Fun, Emotional, Family-ties, Coming-of-age, Quirky, Wilderness, Mystery
Number Of Pages: 330
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Mass Market Paperback

2. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant works her day job. She has her weekend routine of going to the store and getting drunk. Then she returns to work on Monday and is good at her job. The author represents her as a routine-centered personality. When I was first introduced to this character, I thought she was an older woman because of her attitude and judgment, but I was wrong.

Eleanor becomes obsessed with a musician. She falls in love with this musician and tries to undergo this full transformation to meet up with him at the right time. They fall in love, and it shows her transformation in ways beyond the external by how she changes on the inside.

This book approaches topics including trauma, coping skills therapy, platonic friendships, finding your place in the world, and letting yourself be free from the voices that have held you back. At the end of this book, I cried, which indicates a good book as My Year Of Rest And Relaxation.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Author: Gail Honeyman
Award nominee: Goodreads Choice
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Tropes: Mental Health, Romantic Comedy, Self-help
Number Of Pages: 336
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

3. Evvie Drake Starts Over

The story is about a woman, Evvie, whose husband dies, and he is an incredibly charismatic man. Everyone loved him. He has been locked up in her house ever since he died for the past two years. Evvie stays inside all the time, and people assume she’s grieving. But in reality, she was planning on leaving him the night that he died. He got in a car accident while packing up her car to leave him. So she’s taking this hard in reality.

Evvie hates what her life is like and feels like she’s stuck. Then, our other main character enters. His name is Dean, a former baseball player. I loved this romance and the super-cliche ending. It was a real relationship, and they worked on it themselves.

The author discusses grief, romance, moving forward, and permitting yourself to heal. Because often, what holds us back from healing is our beliefs that we’re stuck in the little box that we’ve been in our whole lives. This book breaks everything similar to My Year Of Rest And Relaxation.

Evvie Drake Starts Over

Author: Linda Holmes
Publisher: Random House Audio
Average Rating: 4.2/5
Tropes: Realistic Fiction, Sports, Slow-burn
Number Of Pages: 289
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Mass Market Paperback

4. The Bell Jar

The book is about a young girl named Esther Greenwood. She’s from a suburb of Boston. But when the book starts, she’s in New York City. That’s because she’s interning at a fashion magazine for one month. So, she’s curious about the big city, and she wants to experience everything. After her internship finishes, she goes back home and has some plans for the rest of the summer, but things don’t work out as planned.

Esther suffers from depression, and once her plans go astray, the depression starts to take hold of her, and she sinks further and further into it. In conclusion, this is a clear and relatable portrayal of mental illness as she feels very isolated, and the book references her life. She feels trapped in a bell jar and can see everything outside. But it’s not affecting her, and she feels stuck. So she’s going about her daily life, but she feels terrible, and she says something about waiting for everyone around her to realize something is wrong.

No one thinks that she’s acting strange. Esther feels that way, and she spirals into this dark place. Finally, she starts to get help, and her life improves. But at the end of the book, you don’t quite know how she ends up. You can relate to Esther, the main character of My Year Of Rest And Relaxation. People who enjoy getting into a character’s mind will like this book.

The Bell Jar

Author: Sylvia Plath
Publisher: HarperAudio
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Tropes: Poetry, Feminism, Memoir
Number Of Pages: 294
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

5. Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child

This book is for anybody who wants to learn to be more emotionally intelligent and actively listen to others. I love it because there are a lot of exercises that help you define or determine your emotional intelligence when it comes to emotions and anger. Also, it teaches you how to teach your children better and how to name and recognize their feelings, which helps manage them.

Every parent should read this book because so many things can help parents communicate relationships, build trust, and establish methods to help a child become “emotionally intelligent.” The author discusses how emotional intelligence is a far more significant predictor of success in performance, education, career, and relationships. If you like My Year Of Rest And Relaxation, you must read it.

Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child

Author: John Gottman PhD
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Tropes: Parenting, Relationships, Family, Counselling
Number Of Pages: 240
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle

6. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

The author was trying to describe all of the certain people’s events in vivid detail. It was very seared into my mind, and I didn’t think it was necessary, especially considering that people reading this book likely have struggled with trauma before. So it took me a while to read because you’re reading about some horrible things people have experienced. But at the same time, I’d better understand why trauma affects our bodies the way it does.

So, it helped me better approach my fears because I have a couple of phobias that have stemmed from past trauma, and I’ve been able to make headway and work through them. Also, this book is very informational and will be more of a reference book. Still, it was super helpful in my understanding of trauma and how it can affect children especially. If you’re interested in trauma, you can start with this book after My Year Of Rest And Relaxation.

The Body Keeps the Score

Author: Bessel A. van der Kolk
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Tropes: Medical Psychology Pathologies, Complementary Medicine, Personal Development, Neuroscience
Number Of Pages: 464
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Spiral-bound

7. Girl, Interrupted

This is Susanna Kaysen’s 1993 memoir, which turned into a movie with Angelina Jolie and Renaldo Rider. Also, it’s a memoir of her going into a mental institution and her whole experience going into it.

There was a realism to it beyond that in the surrounding cast of characters. All had the same predicament: their minds wouldn’t do what they wanted. So, there’s that benefit of being inside this place that they also dread. It reminds me a lot of My Year Of Rest And Relaxation. So, pick this book to get a similar theme and character.

Girl, Interrupted

Author: Susanna Kaysen
Publisher: Vintage
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Tropes: Author Biographies, Psychology
Number Of Pages: 192
Item Weight: 6.4 ounces
Dimensions: 5.22 x 0.52 x 8 inches
Available: Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

These stories, each resonant with their unique voices and perspectives, offer a mosaic of reflections on the human condition, inviting us to question, empathize, and, perhaps, find solace in shared experiences. As we close the cover on this exploration, may the novels we’ve ventured through inspire you to embrace the transformative journey of introspection, much like the protagonist of Moshfegh’s compelling narrative.

In the quiet moments of rest and relaxation, in the pages of these books, there lies the potential for profound personal revelation and the gentle reminder that sometimes, in the pursuit of self, we uncover the universal. Happy reading, and may you find both rest and revelation in the stories that await you.

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Pauline Jackson

I like to talk about popular books. My book review inspires you to read and save time. Also, I summarize the book and give you the best lessons or ideas that can change your life. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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