The Woman Who Went to Bed For a Year

By Sue Townsend

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…

Since I read the title of this book I’ve known I’d love it. I had never read any Sue Townsend before, no, not even Adrian Mole. I’ve bought the first one…

This book actually is laugh out loud funny. I love that in a book, you don’t come across it often.

In many ways it’s honest in its exploration of relationships and families and feelings. The cast of characters is wonderful. I loved glamorous, to begin with, librarian Eva Beaver. (Yes. Eva Beaver.) And Alexander, the silvery dread-locked  tall, dark, elegant,dreamy man who is her knight in shining armour, or would like to be.

There’s a part where she is giving her awful husband Dr Brian Beaver notes on how to ‘do’ Christmas as she is not rising from her bed, that is at once tears-rolling-down cheeks funny, and also depressingly sad that Christmas has become this horribly stressful expensive thing looming on the horizon.

There’s plenty of bizarre stuff going on, her twin genius children are very strange indeed, but all the weird happenings add to the atmosphere, Eva is clearly in a very odd place in her head and in her bed, I found it comforting and refreshing, entertaining and generally wonderful. Will look forward to delving into the impressive back catalogue of Sue Townsend books.

I think, with this book, a lot of why I liked it was the sheer escapism. I wish I could go to bed for a year. Not because I’m tired or lazy, just because I’m frustrated by how many parts of my life are going at the moment, and I can’t see ways to change it. I think I like books like this, where the protagonist drops everything and just goes off on a tangent,( like Harold Fry). Obviously a big psychological thing with me at the moment. When I was going to school I used to wish that I could duck under the seat when my bus got to the gates and the bus would just keep going with me in it, on an adventure rather than stressful old school. Still feel like that with work ! And I love to read about characters doing proverbially this!

When I was thinking about this post a song came to mind, The Enemy’s ‘Away from Here’ – the band M plays in cover it and I never really listened to the words. Eva didn’t watch any daytime TV but you get the idea.


Author: Fiona

4 thoughts on “The Woman Who Went to Bed For a Year”

  1. I love the sound of this book! There is a book I saw recently that reminded me of you, think you would enjoy it too as it seems to be along the same escapism lines, though I haven’t read it yet. Think it’s called The hundred year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared. Sometimes titles just pull you in!

    1. Believe it or not I did start it with this kind of idea, but the ideas were not flowing. I can’t seem to step outside my own life/thoughts/experiences to creat something completely separate from me! Hope you are doing well, partly jealous! Well done…tell me your secrets ! How do you find ideas?

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