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The Woman who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue…
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The Woman who Went to Bed for a Year (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Sue Townsend

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2191553,142 (3.13)12
Member:Git
Title:The Woman who Went to Bed for a Year
Authors:Sue Townsend
Info:Penguin (2012), Kindle Edition, 460 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fiction, Nook, read in 2012

Work details

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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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
I've been a Sue Townsend fan ever since Adrian Mole painted his room black (except for the show-through Noddy hats) in The Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4. She manages to weave humour and pathos through her books, making them eminently readable and slipping truths into them under the cover of odd characters and interesting situations.
In this book, Eva's twin children, autistic brilliants who never relate to anyone else, have left for university, and Eva decides to retire to her bed. Forever.
The idea appealed to me - the thought of opting out of life, just spending time lolling about, having others serve you, letting them know how much work you've put into making the world the way it was for your family. I remember having the same feeling when I left my husband - I'd done so much for him, from renewing his car license to organizing health care, that it wore me out.
Eva grows afraid to step out of her bed, and gradually things get odder and odder. She gives advice to a passing cabbie and he spreads the word of her wisdom, and soon she is surrounded by acolytes, begging for answers. Her husband is caught in a several-year-long affair. Her children are terrorized by a fellow undergraduate, who insinuates herself into every aspect of their lives. Eva's selfishness puts her at risk.
Somehow the world whirls around Eva, crises rising and falling, and through it all, Eva wonders what the world is about.

The last lines of the book made me break out weeping, suddenly.
I wept because of the simplicity of the answer, and because I knew I'd miss Eva. ( )
  Dabble58 | Jan 1, 2014 |
Sometimes you just want a light-hearted read. A beach novel, if I'd ever take a sunny holiday or go to the beach. 'The Woman Who Went To Bed For a Year' by Sue Townsend is such a novel, and does exactly what it says on the tin.
Eva is a fifty-year-old housewife who takes care of everything for her husband Brian (astronomer) and her twins Brian junior and Brianne (autistic and brilliant). When the twins leave home to go to university in Leeds, she decides enough is enough, and goes to bed. And doesn't come out again for a year. No more breakfast or dinner, no more cleaning, no more laundry. No more entertaining, no more doing everything Brian wants her to. She gets a support network around her of her mother, her mother-in-law and her man-with-a-van Alexander. Brian is mostly annoyed by Eva and the damage she is doing to his life. Not that he needs any help with that, because as it turns out he's been promising his other woman Titiana for eight years to leave Eva. Eva meanwhile stays in bed, hopes people feed her and tries to figure out what she wants in life, because something needs to change.
The book reminded me a lot of 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' by Rachel Joyce. Like Eva, Harold decided to give up his daily life, but he started walking. Like Eva, Harold amassed a following that saw in him a holy man but he found them mostly annoying or a hassle. Eva just wants a moment to sort things out, but it gets harder and harder, until she has alienated everyone around her, while she needs help the most. We also follow Brian and the twins, and their new 'friend' Poppy.
It is a nice quick read, nothing too deep, about someone who just wants to be appreciated and not needed so much. It doesn't make too much sense, and leaves some open ends, but for a light-hearted read, it is pretty fun. Three out of five stars. ( )
  divinenanny | Nov 27, 2013 |
Awful.

Very rarely do I come across a book that makes me so angry and disappointed in it's author that I cannot finish it.
Townsend (who I was a fan of due to her brilliant Mole series) really dropped the ball with this one.
It is full of characters so horrific and unlike-able with no redeeming features whatsoever.
From the selfish, melodramatic and (cliché-ridden) doormat of the central character Eva Beaver who married a bigoted bully when they didn't even like each other, to her neurotic, pampered, almost incestuous prodigy twins (named after that father no less) this is a mess.
Don't be fooled by the reviews claiming it's "hysterical" either. Unless you find someone so obnoxious that she asks three people to deal with her waste (via funnels and carrier bags) rather than touch the floor on the way to her lavish en-suite, a real rib-tickler of a situation.

You wouldn't have these people as friends. Don't waste precious reading time inviting them into your lives. ( )
  Kate_Ward | Nov 12, 2013 |
It's not often I completely give up on a book, but this one defeated me by a third of the way in. I didn't find it funny in the slightest, it was actually cringey and downright depressing sometimes. I couldn't fathom why Eva suddenly decided to take to her bed by way of protest - taking a break from wife and motherhood is one thing, but this was no Shirley Valentine, reviving her own needs and desires. It just smacked of first world problems, without any sense of responsibility to your own part in your life's path. For example, the flashbacks to dating and marrying Brian didn't make sense. She just came across as weak and insipid, so she only had herself to blame when life didn't turn out just fabulous. What exactly was it that she wanted anyway??

And why was everyone pandering to her extended lie-in? Even the supposedly horrible and controlling husband made a few moans about it but ultimately never challenged her. Why was a relative stranger suddenly in their house all the time cooking and cleaning for this selfish woman?? There was absolutely no one in the book I warmed to and I felt even more dread whenever I turned to another chapter about her children's lives at university. Why were both her kids named after the dad? Was that meant to be funny?? Here we meet an even more selfish and manipulative character, Poppy, who - inexplicably - also seems to have everyone running around tending to her every unbelievable whim. I met some shy and inassertive students in my own uni days but NO ONE would ever tolerate such demanding dramatics past Freshers week!

I didn't even get close to finishing this book. Hours of my life were getting sucked away by its pointless attempts at social commentary/humour/who can say what it was meant to be? The moment where Eva contemplated defecating into plastic bags with a view to getting her mother to deal with them made me feel quite bilious. This just further degraded an already unsympathetic character; it would probably have been for the best if she'd been left to wallow in her own excrement. I ended up moving on to a book about life in gulag camps, where real people had actual reasons to feel a tad aggrieved! It was infinitely more cheery and inspiring! ( )
2 vote EllaBelakovska | Aug 27, 2013 |
Funny, sad and clever writing. Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Sue Townsend has already written about run of the mill so beautifully. ( )
  Secret7 | Apr 11, 2013 |
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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
First words
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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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0718157168, 0141399643

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