Possible spoilers ahead.
As a person who loves their sleep, it is plain enough why I picked up this book. Sue Townsend’s The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year is the story of Eva Beaver, a woman who is fed up of everyday life and takes to her bed. For a year. Obviously. And the summary had me thinking of how I could be this woman someday.
Eva Beaver’s family is a mess. Her husband, Brian, has been having an affair with a colleague since eight years. Her twins are a weird duo, to be putting it kindly. Her mother is a God-fearing woman who wallows in self-pity. Her mother-in-law doesn’t quite like her. Brian’s mistress comes to stay with them. The twins’ self-proclaimed friend, Poppy, pops in and creates problems the size of North America. Then there is Alexander, father of two kids, who falls hopelessly in love with Eva.
The biggest problem is with people’s thinking, the book tells us. When Brian discovers that Eva has taken to her bed, the first thing he asks is, “Who will cook me dinner?” Well, that’s very rich of you, Brian. You are a grown man, you do it yourself! Every person in the world has a right to retreat into a shell from time to time. It is how they recuperate, find themselves again, and sprout new wings.
While Eva, when on her feet, takes care of everyone, nobody bats an eye. But when it comes to the point where a few people, with each other’s help, have to look after Eva’s needs, there’s pandemonium! The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year is dubbed selfish by her family. But there are others out there who, based on the word of a couple of people who happened to get sane advice from her, think that she is a saint. An angel who has descended on the world to save its inhabitants from going the wrong way. But what happens when Eva falls off her pedestal by no fault of hers? A pedestal that she has been placed on without her consent?
The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year is funny on the cover, but not so much when you read it. It seems a little ‘meh’ on the funny spectrum. But thought-provoking, yes, it is. Unconditional love is uppermost on the list, while how we treat infidelity and ought to treat it comes next. There is also irritation at how the world and the media treat us well when it suits them and knocks us off when they feel we don’t meet their standards anymore. It’s a lot to process, actually, and it mostly makes you confused as to whether you like the book or not.
The moment I finished the book, I thought, ‘Wow, I don’t like this book.’ But I took a few days to mull things over and in hindsight, I quite like it. The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year didn’t make me laugh like it promised, but it sure did make me think. And thinking is something that all of humanity is facing a paucity of these days.
I didn’t laugh as much as the book promised, but if you are looking for one, I’d suggest you try reading The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year. If not a laugh, you might just get some food for thought out of it!
Rating: 3/5 stars
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