Has anyone read The woman who went to bed for a year by Sue Townsend?

(47 Posts)
beujolais Tue 11-Sep-12 12:51:13

Has anyone read this? would love to know what it is like as i sacrificed it at the book shop yesterday for a box of rose and violet creams!

Hi there,
I just absolutely love the title but have not had the time to read it yet.
I was on fantastic thread recently about introverts and it reminded me that I should read this.

beujolais Tue 11-Sep-12 19:12:37

Hello, I have heard very good things about it, i'll certainly look forward to it. I've run out of tony parsons books to read and this one is supposed to be a laugh a minute! If you read it before me give me your verdict, thanks!

Read it v quickly but in afraid it's a bit blah and derivative. I didn't laugh at all I'm afraid. Nice to read about leics if you're from there tho.

Just finished a dreadful one by her Queen Camillaa, so its not on my list anymore!

beujolais Wed 12-Sep-12 08:55:10

Oh that's a shame, i had high hopes for that one. A friend read queen camilla and said it was rubbish too. Any must reads you guys can recommend?

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Wed 12-Sep-12 08:57:55

I thought it would be funny, but it wasn't. I couldn't feel any sympathy for any of the characters, not even the woman who stayed in bed. I could understand why she might want to hibernate for a week, but then decided she was being ridiculous and was hurting other people. Mind you, I think she had mental health issues, to be honest, though I'm not sure that was Sue Townsend's plan.

Read it, but only if it doesn't cost you!

beujolais Wed 12-Sep-12 09:31:40

Maybe she was in bed herself when she wrote it! Have you read anything fantastic to recover from it?

beujolais Wed 12-Sep-12 09:32:43

Maybe she was in bed herself when she wrote it! Have you read anything fantastic to recover from it?

beujolais Wed 12-Sep-12 09:33:28

Sorry for repeat, computer's playing silly beggars!

beujolais Wed 12-Sep-12 09:33:50

Sorry for repeat, computer's playing silly beggars!

beujolais Wed 12-Sep-12 09:34:28

My computer has gone all max headroom on me!!

Bluebell99 Wed 12-Sep-12 09:36:34

I had the misfortune to read this on holiday this year. It is one of the worse books I have ever read. I had zilch sympathy or interest in any of the characters. I did not laugh at all. It was tedious. I am glad I got it out of the library and didn't waste any money on it.

beujolais Wed 12-Sep-12 10:24:02

Thanks for the warning bluebell99, saved myself a tenner now! Any recommendations?

NicknameTaken Wed 12-Sep-12 11:06:32

I agree it was a disappointment - there were a couple of good scenes (one where the husband is tupping his mistress and she's getting very bored with proceedings; another where the bride is walking down the aisle and falls out of love with her groom by the time she reaches the altar). For those reasons, I'm not sorry I read it, but on the whole it was a damp squib.

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Wed 12-Sep-12 11:34:23

I'll have to have a trawl through my Kindle and see what I've enjoyed recently. There must be something!

beujolais Wed 12-Sep-12 11:44:21

Shame, maybe she'll redeem herself with the next one! Am i the only person that hasn't read the fifty shades trilogy?

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Wed 12-Sep-12 11:46:13

Nope, not read it either! I tried the first one, I really did. But it was AWFUL!!

beujolais Wed 12-Sep-12 12:02:33

Everyone i know who has read it said it was dreadful and very badly written, how has it gone stratospheric if that's the case? Saying that anything that stirs controversy in the media arouses curiosity.

YouOldSlag Wed 12-Sep-12 12:13:50

Well I read it and loved it. There are one or two LOL moments, but overall it's pathos and how her behaviour effects other people.

There are so many themes in it, so many events in other people's lives and so much goes on that I am not sure the point that Townsend was trying to make as she made so many.

It was not a waste of time by any means and I ending up really caring about Alexander, if nobody else. Eva's twins are autistic and their sub plot develops quite alarmingly. There is very irritating and toxic character in it called Poppy who frankly, just irritates and I'm not sure of her purpose unless it was to illuminate the differing reactions to her from the different characters.

It also had a bit of social commentary in which Eva, the main character briefly becomes a cult figure which nicely outlined how today's Twitter society are all too ready to read too much meaning into something and how they are so needy that they try and see a guru in the simplest of folk.

I won't spoil the ending but it was poignant, but not tragic.

As I said there is no clear singular message, unless you can conclude that everything is messy and nothing is simple and one decision affects people not only adversely, but also in ways that are both dramatic and banal.

mummyonvalium Wed 12-Sep-12 12:35:40

Read it and thought it was okay.

Some of it was funny and at the time of reading it I didn't really get the point of it. Maybe in hindsight I can see that Sue Townsend was trying to make a statement about modern society and how it neglectful it can be and also the point about the media raising people up to be things that they aren't. I did feel there was something missing to this book.

NicknameTaken Wed 12-Sep-12 12:44:00

Was Alexander the black guy? I liked him but I thought there was a bit of this going on the dynamic.

Lol @ 'magical negro'. It all seemed a bit like feminist literature from the late 60s / early 70's - Sub Women's Room with a bit of twitter thrown in to make it 21st century.

YouOldSlag Wed 12-Sep-12 13:19:38

Nickname- that's very interesting. I think you're right.

I did actually cry when his hair got cut off like Samson or Aslan, it was so sad.

NicknameTaken Wed 12-Sep-12 21:44:08

Glad it's not just me then! I found him touching but also a bit unconvincing - all that goodness and suffering nobly borne.

YouOldSlag Thu 13-Sep-12 10:33:44

Nickname- I think all the nobility was borne out of guilt.

NicknameTaken Thu 13-Sep-12 10:41:10

Yes, to be fair he does have a back story and a hint of complexity. He just didn't quite cut it as a fully realized character for me.

CommunistMoon Sat 15-Sep-12 23:10:27

I quite enjoyed this, but perhaps it's unfortunate that it was published not long after Ali Smith's There But For The which covers v similar ground.

YouOldSlag Sun 16-Sep-12 13:10:58

Communist- I'd never heard of Ali Smith's book. Perhaps Smith's publishers were kicking themselves that Sue Townsend was doing it!

Going back to the book, what I found interesting is that she started from an angle that Eva was the only sane, sensible one, and ended with an angle that Eva was very much less than sane by the end.

I enjoyed the book because of it's mixed messages and it's different layers. It wasn't cut and dried but then neither is life.

elkiedee Mon 17-Sep-12 12:05:57

I quite enjoyed the book, it certainly had its faults but it was an entertaining read. I did get sent a review copy though, and I wouldn't buy it new in hardback, or at the full current Kindle price. I found some of the characters a bit caricaturish and didn't like it as much as the Adrian Mole series.

YouOldSlag Tue 18-Sep-12 12:50:23

elkie- I had a review copy too- Are you a Vine Voice? (secret handshake)

elkiedee Tue 18-Sep-12 13:00:10

Yes I am

YouOldSlag Tue 18-Sep-12 13:55:42

me too! Nice to meet another one!

elkiedee Sun 30-Sep-12 21:54:38

I've been trying to spot your review, but failed. (I thought you might have used some of the same bits as you've posted here). Who are you on Amazon?

crkm Fri 11-Jan-13 21:44:11

Didnt enjoy this at all - not hilarious, no laugh out loud bits! some stop and think for 30 seconds - but not much else!

MarkGruffalohohoho Fri 11-Jan-13 22:22:06

Bought it for my mum and she thought the ending was a bit strange whatever that means. Read Queen and I think it was that one and the ending was one you always tell school children never to write!!!

OP not fiction but have just read Jon Ronson the psychopath test - was excellent and cheap on amazon.

pinkoddballs Fri 11-Jan-13 23:02:36

Oh no I got this for Christmas and haven't had time to read it sad

IDontKnowWhereMyMedalsAre Sat 12-Jan-13 10:38:12

Yes I have. It was my Christmas present from my bookclub. We all buy a book we would like to read and then pick a number and get that book. Did I enjoy it? Hmmmm it made me laugh but towards the end I got bored and cross. Overall a very meh 6/10. If it had carried on like the begining it would probably have been a nine.

mimbleandlittlemy Thu 17-Jan-13 14:24:48

I was loaned it by a friend at work who thought it was wonderful and I'm halfway through and really struggling. Does anyone ever get likeable? Or is it supposed to be a comedy of manners and I'm missing the point?

FiftyShadesofTurkeyGravy Thu 17-Jan-13 14:42:10

It's not great literature, but I quite enjoyed it, on the whole. Liked the concept of the much-put-upon mother/drudge suddenly turning round, going completely on strike, and getting her own back (in this unexpected way) on her family who have so taken her for granted, and for so long. There is a real ring of truth in that aspect of it. Not sure how believable most of the other characters are, though! Some flashes of insight and funny moments here and there. I seem to recall the ending as being somewhat unsatisfying and inconclusive.

I read it and frankly it was boring and disappointing. No much of a story and not much of an ending. No funny bits. A few hours of my life I will never get back!

AnneEyhtMeyer Thu 17-Jan-13 15:12:45

I thought it was very lazy writing. Basic research hadn't even been done leaving clanging errors and characters borrowing traits of her previous characters which made a barely believable plot unreadable.

mimbleandlittlemy Fri 18-Jan-13 13:03:35

It struck me as being an almost exact female counterpoint to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, except she stays in bed and people come to her, as opposed to him going out and people coming to him. Only 100 pages to go now so will finish it but I want to smother everyone with her duvet.

Albertmajor Fri 18-Jan-13 16:38:39

I had really mixed feelings about it. I thought it was really clever to begin with - the simplistic idea, together with the 'overly simple' character names, easy reading, etc. And I thought Eva was great. But I held a book group at work for it and actually lots of people hated it. Ah well, it's provocative, anyway!

fromparistoberlin Sun 20-Jan-13 17:32:40

poor effort I thought


one of my fave characters is Pauline Mole

so this was a let down

babooshkadoll Sat 26-Jan-13 19:22:08

Started it in October and just can't get into it.
Infact may have left it in a hotel.....

Chandon Sun 27-Jan-13 15:39:27

I liked it, it had energy, anger and sadness as well as some humour.

I thought the husband was a bit too crappy, and Alexander a bit too dreamlike though!

Enjoyed reading it very much. Imo it deals with mental ilness, not an easy topic.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now