Like Eileen, LaRocca’s characters Agnes and Zoe are isolated and craving connection by any means; the unnamed protagonist of My Year of Rest and Relaxation
is grieving the sudden loss of her parents; the members of Supper Club
seek refuge from their demons in the excesses of the club; Nightbitch
tracks the grimy and depressing side of motherhood
; Peach ruins her body in the aftermath of sexual assault
. These novels aren’t just about the horrid reality of existing in a corporeal form, like so much media today. They are about mental health
or, more specifically, the ugly side of mental illness: what happens when you can’t take care of yourself, when you’re the bad person, when you’re truly self-destructive. This is mental health beyond the narrow confines of fluffy slogans and aestheticised Instagram posts.