Book Review: The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend

The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend

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


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

16 Responses to Book Review: The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend

  1. Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader says:

    This sounds like such a fun read! Thanks for reviewing it, it’s headed right to my wishlist 🙂

  2. Got this on my list next time I need a break from the heavy stuff – thanks!

  3. Alex says:

    Beach read alert! I’ve read most of the Adrian Mole books and have The Queen and I in the TBR for ages.

  4. There’s something about a book with a silly title that just reels me in every time. The last book I read with a silly title (The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared) ended up being one of my favourite books! I will have to give this a try! 🙂

  5. Monika says:

    Oh this sounds FUN!!

  6. Sounds funny and fun! Love that people started to think she was protesting!

  7. Rikki says:

    Don’t know this one but wasn’t particularly keen on The Queen and I (I think that is the title, not sure). Glad that this one is better. That being said, I LOVE Adrian Mole. If you haven’t read them, you should. I am laughing so hard every time I read them (and I have read them often).

  8. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

    I’ve requested this through my library!

  9. Wow, I probably would not have considered this one on title alone but your thoughts here now make me want to read it!

    If you have time today pop in by, it is my 4 year blogiversary and I am hosting a big giveaway and a fun post 🙂 Would love to see you there.

  10. Two of my “real life” friends have mentioned this book in the last week. It is good to know that you enjoyed this one as I’m planning to read it too. I’m not sure I’ll love it, but at least I can join in the conversation.

  11. debbierodgers says:

    Oh, this sounds great! I know the feeling of wanting to go to bed for a year . . . 😉

  12. Glad you enjoyed it too, I thought it was fantastic. Really funny but a touch of pathos. I love Adrian Mole too, in fact I’m a big Sue Townsend fan.

  13. I’ll have to read this. I’ve read some of the Adrain Mole books and loved them, especially the first one. You should definitely read that one too, Judith. I’m sure you will enjoy it.

  14. mesetageresenfranglais says:

    Although I enjoyed the unlikely pilgrimage of Harold fry and though this one would be a bit like that, I was really disappointed and had to force myself to finish it thinking “something must happen”. I don’t know, I probably missed the point of the book of was expecting too much maybe, thinking there would be some deep thoughts for someone who stays in bed for a year. No, didn’t rock my boat 😦

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