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Alice in Bed

3.25  ·  Rating Details ·  265 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
The good-looking, deceptively buoyant girl in bed is Alice Brody, until now a sophomore at Sarah Lawrence and currently immobilized (it’s been weeks, soon months) in a hospital room in New York. Her legs won’t move (the pain coming in “hot waves, like acute embarrassment”). She’s in traction that looks to her like a late-night TV gadget (“It slices! It dices! It mashes! It ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 1st 1996 by Plume (first published 1983)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Laura Gurrin
Mar 11, 2017 Laura Gurrin rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
I don't exactly regret the time spent reading it, but it was like a car trip along a road not far from where you usually drive, to try a place you aren't sure you'll like. It's not terrible and you see a few new things, but nothing really interesting happens, and at the end it's fine but it probably would have been nicer to just stay home.
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
Marco Kaye
Dec 01, 2010 Marco Kaye rated it really liked it
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
Feb 13, 2016 Lily rated it really liked it
Hilarious, a page turner. Alice Brody reminded me so much of Cécile from Bonjour Tristesse. A little wise, a little selfish, a little perverted, and a lot perceptive, Alice Brody comes down with a mysterious disease where her hips and legs are filled with excruciating pain such that she can't get out of bed for months. The book follows her in the hospital and rehab facility where she deals with unemotional nurses, lecherous doctors, and her imbecilic parents. She was really her own agent though, ...more
Sep 17, 2014 Eccentrika rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
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
Oct 05, 2013 Jgknobler rated it liked it
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
Apr 24, 2012 Katy rated it liked it
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
Richard Kramer
Mar 19, 2012 Richard Kramer rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 18, 2012 Judith rated it did not like it
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
Apr 25, 2012 Marcia A rated it liked it
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.
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.
Oct 01, 2012 Jeanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Aug 25, 2009 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
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.
Marion Grieve
Jan 13, 2015 Marion Grieve rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane Drennan Pavia
Feb 08, 2012 Diane Drennan Pavia rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
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.
Mar 26, 2010 Ed rated it it was ok
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.
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.
Janis Williams
Jul 27, 2013 Janis Williams rated it liked it
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
Jun 26, 2013 Janet Meyers rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 07, 2009 Steven rated it liked it
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.
Dec 12, 2008 jess9140 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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?
Jan 29, 2015 Therry rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was difficult to like and connect with the protagonist. The excerpts that were written were in a style that I found to be very disconnected. I struggled to finish reading this book... but I did and am sorry to have spent my time on it.
Jan 20, 2015 Judine rated it liked it
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!
Aug 02, 2010 chris rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 05, 2012 Maiko76 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Che delusione di libro!
Jan 20, 2012 Monique rated it did not like it
was there any point at all to this?
Apr 30, 2009 Rebecca rated it liked it
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...
Dec 13, 2012 Natalie rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
More sex in hospital rooms than I care about, and also rather dated... but still an okay quick read.
Jun 24, 2008 Trina rated it liked it
Funny and scandalous first novel about a young woman's crippling illness. Nothing is sacred! I like Cathleen Schine very much -- funny and smart.
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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...

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