Rest And Be Thankful By Emma Glass – A Review

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: 19th March 2020

I had a very strange relationship with Emma’s first book Peach. I absolutely adored her writing however I did feel like I wasn’t clever enough to understand what she was saying. That wasn’t a bad reflection of the book I actually felt like it was more a reflection on myself as a reader.

When I heard that Emma had a new book out I knew that I absolutely had to give her a try again. I knew that I had to experience her distinct and innovative voice one more time and see if I got on better with this book.

I am so beyond pleased that I decided to request a copy of this book (and of course ever thankful and grateful to the publisher). Because of course I could fully understand this book and to think that I couldn’t would be to do not only myself a disservice but Emma’s stunning writing aswell.

This book absolutely blew me away and I read it in one sitting (it is only 135 pages long). It was the kind of book that makes your bathwater cold and by that I mean I really didn’t want to get out of the bath and stop reading. To do so felt like to bursting a bubble or rising to the surface of a deep dream.

Rest And Be Thankful tells the story of our protagonist Laura, a paediatric nurse working on a children’s ward in a hospital and dealing with very sick children everyday. She is extremely exhausted and drained, not only from her work but from her failing relationship.

Laura often works the night shift and almost lives in a dreamlike state during her working hours. When she arrives home after her emotionally and physically tough shifts at the hospital she is flung into another depleting situation when she has to deal with her partner’s apparently hostility towards her.

You ask me if I’m okay, you touch my head, trying to be tender but the strokes of your dry fingers drag my hair back. Hair pulls from the root of my scalp, the sharp pain cuts through me like chalk screeching, sketching on a blackboard. My teeth grit. You take your hand away and wipe it on the quilt cover. Your mouth turns down in disgust. You tell me I am soaking wet, I am late for work, you spit the words. You remain disgusted and get out of bed.

She finds it very difficult to sleep but when she does manage to snatch some fleeting rest, she dreams of drowning. Her sleep is very rarely refreshing and she wakes as drained as when she fell asleep.

The lack of sleep coupled with the fact that she rarely nourishes her body with appropriate food and the emotional turmoil she experiences both at work and in her personal life all take their toll on her. So much so that she is convinced she regularly sees a dark figure in the periphery of her vision. Be that waiting for the tube, walking down the street or sitting in the hospital rooms.

Laura is such a complex character who spends her time holding the lives of sick babies and children in her hands. She gets close to the families of the children in her care and cannot help but absorb their emotions in with her own. Her dark dreams and daytime thoughts cast a shadow over her which she finds difficult to shake. But just how much of an effect will the darkness ultimately have on her.

What Emma Glass does here in just 135 short pages is amazing. Her writing is poetic yet sparse and utterly visceral and captivating. Not a word is wasted. The way the story is constructed also packed a huge punch for me. The short snappy chapters are so powerful and propulsive. Some of my most favourite books are constructed in this choppy way which I feel adds a certain blunt yet dynamic quality to a narrative.

I was pulled along with Laura and felt almost trapped inside her troubled mind.  Emma Glass was a nurse herself and you can really tell that she knows what she is writing about.

I am so glad that I opened my mind and read this book.  I know that Emma’s writing style is one that I will continue to enjoy,  and I am excited for any further books she writes.

Thank you very much to the publisher for my review copy.

See you all soon.

 

Amanda – Bookish Chat xx

 

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