One of the first books I bought on my Kindle Fire a fair few moons ago now was The Woman who went to bed for a year by Sue Townsend. I hadn’t read much else by her except Adrian Mole and at the time it was quite a popular story but I think I just bought it to use up my credit and it’s kind of been sat there waiting to be read. Recently I’ve tried to really get back into reading a few different stories to what I usually choose and so I remembered I had this and thought I would give it a go.
The book opens with Mrs Eva Beaver, a fifty-year-old housewife who’s twins Brianne and Brian Junior have just started University. Upon this she decides to just stop for a bit, gets into bed and finds it difficult to leave and then stays in bed for a year starting on 19th September. She creates a ‘safe’ way for her to use the bathroom but other than that doesn’t leave her bed and the story progresses from there.
Honestly, this was an okay read. It took me about a five days to finish which is quite a long time for me but then it was quite easy to just put down my kindle whilst reading, I didn’t find myself captivated by the story. I really liked the character Eva to begin with but as the story carried on I found myself becoming one of the characters that abandoned her because I just felt it was a little bit childish. The end of the story did wrap everything up very nicely, although it was quite abrupt and I didn’t find the end of the story predictable either which in these types of stories I usually do.
Sue Townsend does like to put a bit of humour in her stories but I really didn’t like the choices of names in the characters and felt it lacked uniqueness and it was a little bit unrealistic although that does seem to be her style. I didn’t find many of the characters particularly likeable either, the twins displayed characteristics of Autism but just didn’t come across as real people, her husband, well, I didn’t understand what she had seen in him at all to be honest…it made the whole thing quite unrealistic and made me think of the left vs right side of the brain. Eva’s family are all into their numbers, maths and science and Eva is very clearly a lover of literature and words and I just didn’t see the connection between her and her husband.
The book was okay, nothing really happened. I suppose it is supposed to be a portrayal of a woman having a midlife crisis or the ’empty nest’ syndrome that is talked about at the start of the book but nothing was really explained. I think what it did show very accurately is that anyone can be affected by mental health at anytime and even if you can’t explain your actions or reasons people can still end up getting annoyed and aggravated because they lack empathy and understanding, or they just get fed up and abandon the person suffering without ever knowing what they might be going through, especially when they don’t know themselves.
Overall, the book was okay, it is very much ‘holiday reading’ because the language is simple and it’s easy to pick up and put down again.