Dept. Of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Dang. Let me tell you about the build up of buying this book first:

Its Friday night in November, I am at a bar near my work in TriBeCa with my coworkers, and I realized I don't have my wallet. I frantically (but externally very calmly) retrace all my steps from the past two hours of life to find it, with no luck. It's gone. Like, really gone, not like, 'oh it'll show up.' I notice its 6:45pm and Wells Fargo is 10 minutes away and closes at 7pm, so I run there with intent of getting a new debit card. No luck without an ID, but I was able to get $100 cash. Sucks, but what I am to do? So I start walking uptown. For blocks. Miles. I stumble upon Three Lives Company bookstore in West Village which leads me to a workers written suggestion on the book Dept. Of Speculation, sounds familiar but doesn't look familiar. I read the back, it has the words 'gulp in one sitting' somehow involved, which seems interesting, but I have promised myself I am not going to buy a new book until I read 5 that I already own, my room is bursting at the seams. About an hour later, I wander to Strand where I search for the book because I couldn't stop thinking about it. I buy it, walk to a taco place, order some food, and read 50 pages while my food got cold. 

Guys. The book jacket wasn't lying, I gobbled it whole in (three) sittings (because I read it on the Subway and also in bed that same night until it was done) and I had no emotions and all the emotions when it was done. 

The story follows a couple through the rise and fall their relationship through the eyes of the wife, who has no name, but 'the wife.' They raise a child with both regretful and obsessive emotions, give up career and passion project dreams, remember and have other lovers, and so on. I don't want to give away too much, because its jam packed with story but also SO quick. There were several passages that reminded me of The Hours, a complete favorite of mine, that stopped me in my tracks of 'holy shit someone else has felt this way and was able to articulate it so beautifully?' 


“If I had to sum up what he did to me, I’d say it was this: he made me sing along to all the bad songs on the radio. Both when he loved me and when he didn't.” 
― Jenny OffillDept. of Speculation


I took a bunch of photos of passages that I loved in my phone because I wanted to preserve them there. Goodreads does a really great job of content collection for great passages, and it was really really hard to just pick one, so I will just leave this here for you. 

This is one of those books where you walk down the street reading it and you don't care that you might trip or look stupid because you have somewhere to be but you also need to swallow it up. Beyond highly suggesting it, I would really suggest it for a specific time in your life; lonely hours, independent hours, heartbreak hours, relationship confusion hours. Its really beautiful and raw and terrifying and heart-wrenching and I absolutely loved it.