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The Woman Who Went to Bed For a Year by Sue Townsend (2012)

  1. 10
    The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (divinenanny)
    divinenanny: Another person who decides something needs to change in life and amasses a great big following without him/her wanting to.
  2. 00
    Mijn zoon heeft een seksleven en ik lees mijn moeder roodkapje voor by Renate Dorrestein (YolaNL)
    YolaNL: Sue Townsend and Renate Dorrestein have a similar down to earth, humorous style of writing. The topic of these two books happens to be similar as well: a drastic point of change in the life of a middle aged woman.
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English (18)  Spanish (3)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  All (24)
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
At first, I was slightly disappointed with this book, since I didn’t feel it lived up to the excellence and humour of the Adrian Mole books.

However, later on, I was laughing aloud just as much as in the previous books and realized it was equally good, if not better.

Eva is married to an emotionally cold Doctor of Astronomy and Planetary Science called Brian. They had twins, Brian Jr. and Brianne, who were equally gifted and who “belong somewhere on the autistic spectrum”.

Eva had been overwhelmed by an endless run of chores and duties until the day came when the 17-year-old twins left for university.

She was tired and went to bed with her clothes on, thinking she would get up again in half an hour, but realized she couldn't do so since the bed’s comfort was “exquisite”. She thought she would have to be mad to leave it.

The cast of the book includes Eva; Brian; Brian Jr.; Brianne; Yvonne, Brian’s mother; Ruby, Eva’s mother; Peter, the window cleaner, Alexander, the handsome black man, the “man with the van”, who does all sorts of practical tasks for Eva and finally falls in love with her; Alexander’s two small children, Thomas and Venus; Titania, Brian’s intellectual mistress, who ends up moving in with them; Poppy, an emotionally disturbed girl who mobs and bullies the twins under the guise that she is their best friend.

Eva only leaves her bed to go to the bathroom, and she does this by walking on hr sheet which she pulls down and makes into an extension of the bed. “She felt that if she stayed on the sheet she would be safe, though from what, she didn’t know.”

“Briane lets people walk all over her, and Brian Junior panics if he has to talk to another human.”

Brian asks Eva “--- how long do you intend to stay in bed?” “Where does the universe end?” replies Eva.

Eva doesn’t know how to live in the world, and can’t even work the remote. She can’t work the new oven either or can find out how much they’re paying per quarter on their electricity bill. (I understand her completely.)

“Eva couldn’t remember when Brian had turned into a middle-aged man. Perhaps it was when he had started to make a noise when he got up from a chair.”

She had met Brian while she was working in a library and he came in to explain why he had not returned Dr. Brady’s book “The Universe explained”. “I won’t be returning Brady’s book, --- because it was so full of theoretical errors and textual buffoonery that I threw it into the River Soar. I cannot take the risk of it falling into the hands of my students.”

Brian had constructed a large shed in their garden and there installed a king-sized bed and other furniture. This is where he secretly entertains his mistress, Titania. The twins and Eva knew never to disturb him when the red light went on and he was “working”.

Gradually, Eva establishes an international reputation as a woman with special powers, who is perhaps even a saint, and a crowd gathers and camps outside their house. A few manage to gain access to her and Eva gives them healing advice.

Doctors and others, however, diagnose her with a mental problem, and perhaps they are right?

This is a well-written, extremely funny book which, as with all Sue Townsend’s books, contains much covert social commentary. She writes in a very down-to-earth style; when her characters speak they show who they are, and we recognize ourselves, or parts of themselves, in them. She has a very distinctive style. I strongly recommend that you read this book and the author’s other books, Enjoy! ( )
  IonaS | Dec 9, 2016 |
I read the Adrian Mole series in my teenage years, I read it again in 2001 when the first book was televised here in the UK. So on the back of those earlier experiences I looked forward to this one. I was disappointed. I suspect that much of the author's own heath issues or experiences are featured in this book and that coupled with poetic license has done a poor job of keeping me entertained. The characters were not great and likeable and for me it did not gel well. ( )
  AnglersRest | Sep 27, 2016 |
I had high expectations for this book as I read some good reviews beforehand and the premise seemed interesting. There was some great characterization and I liked all the references to modern gadgets, well known brands and current pop culture throughout the book. The book was an easy read but I found it fizzled out towards the end and had a very disappointing ending.

In hindsight, how exciting could a book about a woman who spent a whole year in bed really be? ( )
  meloncolly | Jul 25, 2016 |
Ik vond dit een flauw boek en begreep niet waar het nou eigenlijk naar toe ging. Ja, Eva besluit een jaar in bed te liggen en is na een redelijke start daar niet echt succesvol in. Ze wordt een soort guru voor anderen, zonder dat ze het wil en zonder dat ze iets essentieels te zeggen heeft. Er tussendoor speelt het vreugdeloze verhaal van haar kinderen (tweeling die net naar de universiteit is gegaan) en van haar man en zijn minnares. Allemaal niet echt leuk en ook niet echt boeiend. ( )
  elsmvst | Feb 28, 2016 |
The Woman who went to bed for a year by Sue Townsend - still deciding.

Superficially, this has all the hallmarks and cliches of hundreds (thousands?) of other books:

Middle aged housewife - tick
Ungrateful children leaving home - tick
empty nest - tick
ungrateful/uncaring/self absorbed husband - tick
aged/nagging mother/mother-in-law - tick
cue breakdown/quirky behaviour - tick

But this is Sue Townsend and as such, the writing is so much better than many of the pulp versions of this scenario.

Eva's twins leave for their first year at University. As she looks round at the devastation around the house, she notices a soup mark on her favourite chair. This is the catalist. She can't face tidying/cleaning up AGAIN and suddenly everything weighs down on her. She takes to her bed, fully clothed and pulls the duvet up over her head. I suspect many, many people can relate to that feeling.

But Eva doesn't stop there, or more to the point, she does. She resolves to stay in bed. Her husband (Brian) is totally self involved and has no concept of how to look after himself let alone the house or Eva and this is where the story takes off.

There are all the expected, amusing stories about the twins starting to fend for themselves at Uni, about Brian's total lack of understanding or empathy or ability to cope, about the dissolving of an unsatisfactory marriage, about new relationships being built, about grief and love etc etc. - all told with Sue Townsend's sense of humour.

I really enjoyed the book and was expecting to give it a 'very good', right until I got to the ending. I really didn't like the ending. It was almost as if it was stopped rather than finished and it has left me less than impressed. Only finished it last night and I'll need to think a bit more about it before I decide just how much I did/didn't like it.
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
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Sue Townsendprimary authorall editionscalculated
Printz, PiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'Be kind, for everybody you meet is fighting

a hard battle'

attributed to Plato, and many others
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To my mother, Grace
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After they'd gone Eva slid the bolt across the door and disconnected the telephone.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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'The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year' is a funny and touching novel about what happens when someone refuses to be the person everyone expects them to be.

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Audible.com

An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0718157168, 0141399643

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