Genre: Humorous fiction
Publisher: Michael Joseph 2012
Source: Tywyn Public Library
Extract from first pages: She picked up the saucepan, walked from the kitchen into the sitting room and threw the soup all over the precious chair. She then went upstairs, into her bedroom and without removing her clothes or her shoes, got into bed and stayed there for a year.
Favourite Quote: “To unlock the heavy outer door and to walk into the hushed interior, with the morning light spilling from the high windows on to the waiting books, gave her such pleasure that she would have worked for nothing.”
Review Quote: 'Laugh-out-loud . . . a teeming world of characters whose foibles and misunderstandings provide glorious amusement. Something deeper and darker than comedy' Sunday Times
My Opinion: Satirical read
Sue Townsend's name will always be synonymous with the Adrian Mole stories, they are what have most helped make her Britain's favourite comic author today. Her other books I have enjoyed but there has never been another character as memorable as Adrian Mole.
There is no doubt that The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year is very well written, a satirical read, funny and sad there is something terribly dark about this latest novel from Sue Townsend. When I first picked it up and read the blurb I thought it had possibilities for a very amusing, entertaining read. At first it was as the protagonist Eva Beaver, a librarian, (yes I know!)decides that she just cannot tolerate her life any more. Before long though I was beginning to find that that this woman and her selfish attitudes just grated on my nerves, spoiling the humour for me. Maybe this is what the author intended but one cannot be sure, certainly the picture she paints of the rest of the family makes you sympathetic of Eva's feelings. Just do not think she did herself any favours in the way she responded to her annoying family, surely languishing in bed was just not the answer.
As you can probably tell there was nothing compelling for me about this novel, but I plodded through and if you are a fan of Sue Townsend's writing then you should definitely add this to your reading list. However if you have never read any of her novels I personally do not think this is a good one to start with.
Susan Lillian Townsend was born April 2nd 1946 in Leicester, where she spent her childhood free time playing in local fields and woods. She only learned to read at the age of eight when, off school with mumps, she was given by her mother a pile of Just William books and taught to read in just three weeks. From that moment she became obsessed with reading. Later, she started to write for the school magazine.
Sue left school at fifteen with no qualifications and found employment in a string of unfulfilling jobs, from petrol-pump attendant to shop assistant. She kept writing, but did so in secret. At eighteen she married and a year later her first child was born. With two more children in her family and a subsequent divorce, she at last found a job she enjoyed – at the youth club on the estate she lives in.
In 1978 Sue met Colin Broadway and after she admitted to him that she had been writing secretly for years he encouraged her to join a writer’s group at Leicester’s Phoenix Arts Centre. After the third meeting, where Sue had shown nothing nor said anything, she was told to share some work with the group next week. Two weeks later she presented Womberang , a play set in a gynaecological waiting room. The play was put on and in 1979 won a Thames Television Playwright Award, including a bursary as Writer in Residence.
The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.
Amazon Author Page - Sue Townsend Goodreads Author Profile Authors Official Website
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