The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year

woman who went to bedPublished: 2012
Author: Sue Townsend

Frustrating, annoying and full of hideous characters


As part of my coverage of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee I reviewed Sue Townsend’s The Queen and I. I wasn’t entirely sold on it, it was fine but not brilliant. I was a huge fan of Adrian Mole when I was younger though so when my mum passed me her copy of The Woman who Went to Bed for a Year I was looking forward to it. I loved the concept and thought it would be an entertaining read. I was wrong.

Eva Beaver (and there’s your first clue about what annoyed me about this book) decides on the day that her twins leave home for university that she’s going to bed and not getting up. She doesn’t have a plan, she’s just fed up and wants a break from real life which is disappointing. As the months go on she becomes something of a minor celebrity but her life is falling apart.

I loved the concept, the idea of someone just saying that life was horrid and walking away from hideous family is appealing and amusing. On the other hand, the idea of a book which looked at depression with a wry sense of humour also appealed to to me so I went into this book with a lot of goodwill and an eagerness to enjoy it. I was bored stiff. Then I was frustrated.

I’m not stupid, I understood the satire on modern society, I understood the commentary on a woman’s lot in life. I just didn’t like it. The characters were, with one exception, completely detestable. Eva’s husband Brian and her children Brian Jr and Brianne were horrible with no redeeming features, it should have made me more sympathetic to Eva but instead it frustrated me that she had raised these horrible children and stayed married to this despicable man. While I sympathised with Eva to begin with, she became increasingly selfish insisting that people (including her elderly mother and mother in law) wait on her constantly.

The side plot of Poppy, a fellow student of the twins, infuriated me to the point where I wanted to throw the book across the room. It was pointless and irritating and only served to kick off my antipathy to the novel, which only grew the more I read.

If I’m fair, there were a few funny moments. If we’re judging based on Mark Kermode’s six laugh test then the book probably just about passed that threshold. As you would expect, it’s also a very well written book with some beautiful moments. The sheer hideousness of the characters and the fact that disbelief had to be suspended quite so much meant that I came away from The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year thoroughly disappointed and entirely disinclined to read any more of Sue Townsend’s non Adrian Mole works.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Speak Your Mind