Book Review: The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend
June 8, 2013 16 Comments
Some title, isn’t it? This looks and is a fun novel, about a woman who went to bed, and yes, stayed there for a year. It’s my first Sue Townsend novel, she of Adrian Mole fame. It seemed really good fun and indeed it was. A quick and entertaining read.
The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year: What it is about
From the back of the book: “The day her twins leave home, Eva climbs into bed and stays there. For seventeen years she’s wanted to yell at the world, ‘Stop! I want to get off’. Finally, this is her chance.
Her husband Brian, an astronomer having an unsatisfactory affair, is upset. Who will cook his dinner? Eva, he complains, is attention-seeking. But word of Eva’s defiance spreads.
Legions of fans, believing she is protesting, gather in the street, while her new friend Alexander, the white-van man brings tea, toast and an unexpected sympathy. And from this odd but comforting place, Eva begins to see both herself and the world very, very differently.”
The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year: What I thought
Eva never enjoyed looking after her twins, and now that they’re leaving for university, she finally has the chance to do what she’s wanted to do for the last seventeen years: have a quiet time in bed. People come and help Brian with the housework and to keep Eva company. Brian discovers it’s hard work, running a household. And when he asks about Christmas preparations, he gets a long monologue (taking up several pages in the book) after which he realises how much work Eva has been carrying out without him knowing it. Eva exclaims that she’ll never do Christmas again. Many British women claim this every year, but with Eva you know she speaks the truth.
The book is very funny, has some laugh-out-loud moments. It was never over the top, except for the one occasion where Brian’s sex life is discussed during a meeting at work, in detail. This seemed very unlikely. Not that the rest of the story was all that likely, but it was within a sort of acceptable boundary of likeliness.
Eva runs into some practical problems (toilet, food). The author doesn’t shrink back in making this difficult for Eva, she’s not getting an easy time of it. And before you think this book is all fun and games: no, it’s not. But over all, it’s quirky and funny.
It’s also a fast read. It reminded me a bit of The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Rachel Joyce), because of the group of people that start to worship Eva. The Woman Who Went to Bed… is less serious, though. I loved it!
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Number of pages: 438
First published: 2012
I got this: borrowed from the library
Genre: contemporary fiction, humor