The Woman Who Went to Bed For a Year by Sue Townsend

Eva takes to her bed.

Fed up with cooking her husband’s dinner, caring for the house and mystified by her oddly introvert and super-intelligent 17 year old twins, Eva takes advantage of their departure to university to take time off from the world. At first she just wants a rest from her life, but as the days and weeks pass she decides she likes her new life better than the old one.

A cast of characters join her – in her bedroom and outside it. Alexander, the widowed father of two young children and all-round good guy; Yvonne and Ruby, her critical mother-in-law and mother; Titania, her husband’s mistress; know-it-all Nurse Spears; husband Brian, whom she realises she’s never really liked.; and admirers who gather outside the house for hints about how to solve their own problems and improve their lives.

Unlike many reviewers who described it as ‘laugh out loud’ funny and ‘hilarious’, I found it more poignant than amusing. As a description of a woman having a breakdown, it was excellent – not realistic exactly (heaven help anyone with a family like Eva’s) but probably familiar to many empty nesters and others having a mid-life crisis.

Verdict: Oddly touching. I hope things worked out for her ****

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