I can assume that we are all on TikTok. Whatever side that you’re on, I’m pretty sure you have probably heard of at least two of these novels while you were using the app or just on any social media platform. I decided to pick a few of the books that I found interesting and rate them. I will be giving a short summary, my personal opinions, ratings, and key points or adjectives for each book. I hope you enjoy this life and give at least one of these books a read.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The novel follows the life of Esther and her battle with mental illness. This book is an autobiography of Plath’s life, but the names of people and places are changed. At the beginning of this book, I felt like I was relating to the main character, Esther, and some of her passions in life. The whole time I was thinking about how crazy and scary it is that I can relate to Plath and who she was as a person. As the novel goes on and close to the ending, I began to dislike Plath’s character and find the novel unexciting. Esther became unlikeable due to her treatment of others, how she saw other people, and more. I understand how her life, views, and mental health could be a factor, but I just couldn’t get into it. This book does talk about mental health issues; she talks about her battles with mental illness and suicide. As a result, there are talks about suicide and that could be a trigger for some people. Another point about the book is that it brings you into Plath’s era and what life was like during the 1950s. Due to this being written in the 1950s, there are uses of slurs and racism. It isn’t seen frequently throughout the book (It is used at the beginning and several times in chapter 14), but it’s used enough to make you quite uncomfortable. If you don’t like that, please skip over this book.
I would give this book a 6/10 and I would recommend it to anyone who loves classic books, history, and is comfortable with talks about mental illness.
Key points of the novel: Mental health, Autobiography, Classic, Uncomfortable
The Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
The narrator, who is very unreliable, takes us on a journey from being a criminal that commits horrific crimes to his being experimented on as a way to “reform” him. The first thing I noticed about this novel is that it is pretty hard to read. And I’m not talking about big, scholarly words, or lesser-known idioms. I’m talking about words like rassoodocks, ptitsa, and veshches. The diction of this book is all over the place, but it helps the reader understand the narrator as a person and reminds us that he’s just a teenager. Another thing is that there is a deeper meaning to the book. It poses the question of choosing to be good or being bad and what happens when you take that choice away? Can someone truly be good if they can’t be bad? That question had me completely glued to the book and had me trying to find the answers outside of the pages. Another thing I noticed is that this novel gives the reader an interesting look into the male psyche. It feels like the author is playing out his deepest desires and seeing how people, the reader, would react to them. There are so many elements to the book that will make you really question why someone would write such a book and get away with it. Don’t even get me started on the film adaptation. Overall, I would say this is a good book to read for the experience. I would rate this book a 7/10.
Key Points of the novel: Psychological, Thrilling, Morality, Unsettling
Milk Fed by Melissa Broader
This book follows a narrator as she goes through her life with her struggles with food, her mother, and so much more. She meets a woman from one of her favorite shops and the rest is history. Milk Fed can be a triggering book if you have or have struggled with any kind of eating disorder. It made me quite uncomfortable and queasy because it was the main focus. Another theme is complicated motherhood, as shown through the narrator’s relationship with her mother. It made me so uncomfortable because I was forced to examine my relationship with my mother while reading. The book is pretty sexual and erotic. If that isn’t for you, definitely skip over this one. On a better note, the book was very well written and bold. I have never read a book where I was sitting back and rereading the paragraphs, shocked and amazed (in a good way) at what I just read. Even though I was uncomfortable at times, I don’t think it ruined my experience with the book at all. I would give this book a rating of 8/10.
Key points about the book: Triggering, Bold, Erotic, Honest
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
I am a huge Ottessa Moshfegh fan and this book is by far, one of my favorite books on this list. I have quite a busy schedule and which means it takes me fifteen to twenty days to finish a book. However, this book, took me a week. I just enjoyed this book so much.
It follows a wealthy girl who is in the process of trying to restart her life by sleeping for an entire year. The girl, who is unnamed, is truly unlikeable, but it doesn’t cause you to stop reading the book. She treats her only friend badly; she has a terrible ex-boyfriend who she treats as terribly as he treats her; she uses and manipulates her sketchy psychiatrist; and so on. It’s just all over the place, but I promise you, it works for the novel. She’s so unlikeable and detached from everything that’s going on that you have to keep reading to find out what she does and what happens to her. This is one of those books that you just can’t stop reading or put down. I would like to say that this book isn’t really for everybody, so if you don’t like weird, unlikeable characters or situations, then this isn’t for you and that’s completely fine! I would give this book a 10/10!
Key points about the book: Dark, relatable, humorous, uncomfortable
Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh
If you can’t tell by now, I like dark books with unusual and weird characters. This book is nothing less than that. It is a collection of fourteen short stories that are unrelated to each other and features really strange characters. They can be a bit weird and unlikeable, but it doesn’t ruin the story. The stories can also seem to be all over the place, like random details and paragraphs that seem odd, but it fits. There are no real conclusions to the stories, but it fits. Moshfegh has a way of writing that makes the reader so confused and weirded out by the sentences and words, but it always seems to work out and make sense. I truly do love dark books and I think Moshfedgh does a great job without it being overbearing. I would give this book a 10/10!
Key points about the book: Dark, Weird,