Language in Emma Glass’ book, Rest and Be Thankful, is fluid. Blood, tears, water, sweat pour on the page. They all serve as a connection to Laura, a nurse, navigating the complexities of her life’s expectations through the people she meets. Her thoughts are incredibly intimate. We read Laura longing to learn about herself. As the language is fluid, colors hold melodramatic tones. Darkest blue can describe a fellow nurse’s scrubs as well as the emotions that reveal on their face. Laura reads into the souls around her. Glass, through her writing, places a scope that blossoms the story. The slow burn of the plot is intriguing.
For much of the story, the reader does not know Laura’s name. She remains captivating in the stream of consciousness. Then, the story populates with names and dialogue. It blooms like a rose after a long and hard winter. The writing is also poetic, sent to sear in your bones. The chapters are brief. Hospital machines and veins hold human qualities.
We are invited to Laura’s thoughts. You gladly enter the door, no matter what lies around the corner. You will swim to the bottom of the ocean with Laura. You will pick strawberries with her until the red stains your fingertips.
On page 84, memories are engulfed with Laura, her sister, and her father. Laughter, snot, seafoam, among additional elements and sounds, contribute to the memories’ impact. The crisp details show the value Laura holds of her memories as she recalls them on occasion.
Tracy is a character that latched onto my mind. Her son, Danny, is in intensive care. I wondered when we would read about Tracy again as the story coursed along. What becomes of Tracy embraces a connection that reveals Laura’s compassion.
The title holds the most irony against the story. It is also an affirmation that even in the most chaotic of times, you can have both rest and thankfulness. For much of the story, Laura longs for rest. The point of view shifts ever so often, which Glass seems to employ depending on how close she wants you to be with Laura. This book is one that you could read in one sitting, definitely two sittings. I was humbled to be in Laura’s dreams. The ending wades out onto the shore, glad you were able to witness it.