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Alice in Bed
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Alice in Bed

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3.27 of 5 stars 3.27  ·  rating details  ·  219 ratings  ·  28 reviews
In "a sprightly first novel" (John Updike, The New Yorker), "fluently written . . . (in) an engaging voice" (The New York Times Book Review), Schine introduces readers to a convalescent but effervescent heroine imprisoned in the confines of a Manhattan hospital who proves that there is sometimes hilarity in the depths of infirmity.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 1st 1996 by Plume (first published 1983)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-29 of 396)
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Cheryl
Funny, but also provocative, even a little bit philosophical. Interesting side characters, but we didn't get to know them even as well as Alice did, which wasn't very. So, maybe not the best piece of literature, but I enjoyed it, more than I thought I would.

But then, I did spend a month in a rehab clinic and so I could empathize with the main character a little bit. In fact, I might have enjoyed reading this back then.

Otoh, I totally respect the feelings of the people who thought this a waste
...more
Eccentrika
Questo libro me lo sono trascinato dietro per un po'... diciamo che preso a piccole dosi l'ho trovato abbastanza piacevole. La storia è molto statica e non ci si poteva aspettare di più con una protagonista confinata in un letto d'ospedale, ma diciamo che un po' di più il lettore se lo aspetta sempre, anche da un libro con una trama così. Idea originale, scrittura ironica a cinica, con scene pseudo-divertenti e grottesche che aiutano a stemperare un'atmosfera che altrimenti sarebbe stata abbasta ...more
Laurel-Rain
Alice Brody is struck down with a mysterious illness at age nineteen.

Her legs are stiff and she cannot walk, nor can she even move them. Pain accompanies every moment of every day. In the hospital, poked and prodded by endless doctors, she is seemingly engulfed by her ailments. Soon pain becomes her everyday companion, with no hope in sight. But then things turn around, the pain dissipates, and she is transferred to a rehabilitation facility.

Alice's journey through a year of "lying in bed," with
...more
Marco Kaye
This is a funny book about being in the hospital, if you can believe it. The main character Alice is quick-witted, acerbic, and most of all pissed that something is wrong with her and none of her doctors knows what. Schine rounds out the cast of characters around her brilliantly, all of whom are quirky and hilarious.

90% of the book is spent with Alice as she lies prostrate in a hospital bed, wondering what the hell is wrong with her and why she can’t walk. If this sounds morbid, it isn’t. It’s
...more
Marion Grieve
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katy
A little slow moving for my tastes. I suppose this could be construed as a SPOILER, but this is not really a book with a lot of mystery to figure out, but in case you don't want any part given away ahead of time, do not read any further...

I could not get over the part where she kept hooking up with the men her father or grandfather's age while she was in the hospital. It just (and I think this is the correct technical term) icked me out.

There were some parts that were very well written. All and
...more
Judine
Very weird story - had to keep reminding myself it was written in 1984 - smoking OK even in the hospital. I wonder if they ever figured out what was wrong with her? Only Cathleen knows!
Jgknobler
I read yet another Cathleen Schine book, looking to capture the pleasure I had reading the Three Weissmanns of Westport, but once again no luck. The novel, written early in Schine's career, is about a young woman hospitalized and bedridden after a mysterious illness attacks her hips. I have no idea whether any of this is autobiographical.If so, I would have preferred a more straightforward memoir. Schine's funny and cynical voice is certainly there, but there is a disconnect between the story an ...more
Richard Kramer
This really delighted me. The voice that Cathleen Schine has established in her many subsequent novels -- elegant, haimische, thrillingly subtle (Alison Lurie compared her favorably to Jane Austen) and Borscht-Belt funny -- was/is all here in her first time out of the gate. Alice may be in bed, but bed for her is a kind of Wonderland, too, where she makes the passage into adulthood in a unique way that had me yellow hi-liting all over the place and turning occasionally green with envy, which is ...more
Judith
No idea how this book got on my list, and I am sorry I wasted time on it. Alice has some mysterious disease that has her hospitalized when she loses all function in her lower limbs and suffers constant pain all over her body. Yet, despite severe pain the book is written tongue-in-cheek and is meant to be humorous. Some of her visitors are somewhat funny in a sick way--like the doctor to whom she grants sexual favors on a daily basis only to discover that he is billing her parents for these visit ...more
Marcia A
The cover of my paperback is better than the one shown here (it has feet at the end of the bed...). This was a book recommended by the NY Times, a resissue of a novel written about 25 years ago by the author of The Three Wiessmanns of Westport. Even though I was reading it on an airplane, at first I thought it was silly, but it got better as I finished it: It is about a young woman who has a fairly unexplained paralyzing illness for about a year.
Elizabeth
I picked this up in Santa Fe when I was there for a meeting because I had nothing to read. I was looking for a funny book and this seemed like a good choice. It is funny and interesting and well written but a bit bewildering. It is such a great set up with engaging characters but no one seems to develop. Nonetheless Schine's adept observations about hospitals, doctors, divorce, patients and families make this a delightful read.
Jeanne
College sophomore Alice Brody is in bed, and she does not know why. The pain came on suddenly one night, and now the young woman cannot walk.

The first half of the novel covers Alice’s mystery illness (which is never fully explained) and focuses on her visitors—family, doctors, and other healers. The second half of the novel focuses on her recovery—a series of successful operations and her recuperation.

Strangely appealing.
Bettye
Mar 13, 2010 Bettye added it
A funny, quirky kind of book from the point of view of a young woman who has an illness. Her illness is difficult to diagnose and thus she is in the hospital for months. It sounds depressing but really isn't because the protagonist is witty and clever and eventually she does get better. The book makes you see life from the patient's point of view. People in the medical profession should read this book
Susan
It's almost impossible to summarize this novel, which is a comic, sexy story about a young woman with a painful, undiagnosable disease. Alice is confined to a hospital bed for almost a year, and we meet her family, her mother's new boyfriend, her father's new life, doctors and nurses, fellow patients, all the rich mixture of life from which Alice feels excluded.
Diane Drennan Pavia
I'm btwn 1 and 2 stars on this. I've liked other books by this author but I found these characters flat and uninteresting. I didn't always understand the relationships she was drawing btwn them, and then I realized I didn't really care. I only finished it b/c, as I said, I like this author and was hoping it would get better. It really didn't.
Ed
Having spent a long time in a hospital bed I thought this autobiographical novel that promises to treat the subject with humor hit the spot. Unfortunately I found Schine's humor too broad and her protagonist uninteresting. I did enjoy the sections that reminded me of what it is like to depend on the kindness of strangers.
Janis Williams
Cathleen Schine: what a writer! When this one came out I avoided it, since it concerned an invalid, but I should have known better. Funny characters and writing that reminds you how much this novelist loves her people. Not required reading for To the Birdhouse, but certainly worth reading.
Janet Meyers
One of the most comedic novels I've ever read. Yet it's about the very painful experience of a young girl being struck down by a mysterious illness.
That's Schine's great gift, she is able to explore the dark parts of experience with humor and depth. This was a great read, very fun and touching.
jess9140
I remember loving this book, but I don't remember why...or what it was about. I read the sequel To The Birdhouse and wasn't impressed. So someday I may read Alice In Bed again and see what I liked about it. Maybe I'll change my rating, who knows?
Steven
This book is an easy read. I enjoyed reading it in the morning with my cup of coffee. It would also be a good airplane book. Alice has a problem with her hips, so she's stuck in a hospital bed. Different people come to visit her.
Betty
Aug 07, 2011 Betty added it
After loving two of Cathleen Schine's recent novels, I wanted to read her debut novel. Not as sparkling as her later work, but Alice and her debilitating illness and recovery will stay with me for a long time.
Trina
Funny and scandalous first novel about a young woman's crippling illness. Nothing is sacred! I like Cathleen Schine very much -- funny and smart.
chris
wasn't as taken with this one right from the beginning, but now that's it done, can't wait to get to the library to get the sequel.
Rebecca
I found this book in a magazine "to read" list. It was ok but the story got a little tired for me. I had to skim a lot of it...
Natalie
More sex in hospital rooms than I care about, and also rather dated... but still an okay quick read.
Monique
was there any point at all to this?
Maiko76
Che delusione di libro!
Millie
Millie marked it as to-read
Jan 16, 2015
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Cathleen Schine is the author of The New Yorkers, The Love Letter, and The Three Weissmanns of Westport among other novels. She has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, and The New York Times Book Review.
More about Cathleen Schine...
The Three Weissmanns of Westport Fin & Lady: A Novel The New Yorkers The Love Letter The Evolution of Jane

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