Books

The Woman Who Went to Bed For a Year – Sue Townsend

Eva has quite frankly had enough and decides that it is time for a rest and let everyone else get on with their lives without her input.

So she goes to bed.

She goes to bed and does not leave her bedroom.

Eva is the woman who went to bed for a year.

But who has Eva left behind and can they cope? Brian, her husband is more concerned that he won’t get fed, he is apparently getting conjugal rights from someone else’s wife! Brian Junior and Brianne, her children, 17 year old twins who are gifted that they are already at university, but it seems are complete social misfits. Her mother, Ruby who cannot understand the fuss but still rallies to help her daughter. And Yvonne, her mother in law who thought she was the wrong woman for her precious son.

But with familiar faces becomes lots of new ones, as somehow word spreads about Eva and going to bed. Eva does not need to go out and see life, leaving to one side her rather eccentric family, life is coming to her door, in fact it is coming to her bedside and everyone wants to know what Eva thinks.

Eva has the answer for her own woes. Or does she?

This is a very funny and poignant story from the pen of Sue Townsend better known for Adrian Mole, but she has captured what I think of as a woman who is having a breakdown in form of a protest sit in or lie in, in this instance. The characters are a contradiction , their faults are their strengths and what makes them stand out from the page, is something very unique that I have not seen in a book for a while. I detested Poppy but with that I thought she was a great character, though she did seem to suddenly disappear. I was fascinated by the relationship between Brian Junior and Brianne (poor girl stuck with that name) it dealt with young adults on the autism spectrum, but this was more involved as they were both twins and had seemed to be existing in their own world with their own rules.

The funny moments are just that, the sad the same, especially when Eva decides to changer her surroundings to the extreme. It was like bleaching everything away. I was disturbed at that point and was worried for her welfare but I had to keep reading because I could not see how this book was going to end. It finishes and I still have answers but actually I quite like that about the book.

Yes it’s funny, but there is something just not quite right underneath which makes it quite a dark book in places. Some might think it a silly book, an eccentric impossible unbelievable plot, but the only way you know what to call it is to read it and judge for yourself. For me the book is still with me long after putting it down.

This was my book club choice for January and I have to be honest, I would not have read it if it wasn’t for that. I knew about the book, I knew it existed and who it was by but that was enough for me. It is many years since I read Adrian  Mole and then I don’t think I ever got past the first novel and I also read my memory (not always that reliable) tells me The Queen and I. Sue Townsend is not an author of choice, if that makes sense. I was intrigued by the reviews on Amazon, as it is a very split choice if you look it at it from a visual point of view. Equally spread out over the 5 stars. 

I have found writing the review difficult, maybe because my brain is getting back into work mode after two weeks off or maybe because I actually want to say so much ant this book, that I would end up breaking it down bit by bit and no one else would want to read it as I would have given everything away. Perhaps after book club I will be able to explain more because we have discussed it and there is plenty to discuss.

I will report back soon about how my book club found the book. 

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One thought on “The Woman Who Went to Bed For a Year – Sue Townsend

  1. I’ve never read anything except Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend, but have been intrigued by this one. And I’m still intrigued! It sounds like it would be a light, fun read. Maybe I’ll give it a go after wading through something long and difficult…

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