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Alice in Bed

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  294 ratings  ·  33 reviews
"Alice in Bed" is, not surprisingly, about Alice in bed. Sound sexy? In part, it is, which is very surprising. For though Alice is indeed as sexy as a bright, beautiful, liberated postadolescent can be, the bed she occupies is a hospital bed, where she is visited by a succession of doctors, good, bad, and enormously indifferent to her pain but in several cases extrememly r ...more
Paperback, 223 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Picador USA (first published 1983)
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3.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  294 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Dec 27, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jun 18, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The realistic aspects left me wanting more info. But then there were plenty of Fictional things that had me grumbling. Why is Alice so beautiful? What do you mean bedsores that are then never mentioned again in the recovery process? What is up with the two invalid-molesting boyfriends?
I've loved her other novels that I've read.
Blurbed by Updike, pretty snazzy for a first novel.
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Review coming soon
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
DO NOT read this before you have your hip replacement surgery! Wait six months, then you will laugh!
Laura Gurrin
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Marco Kaye
Dec 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sara Booklover
Sep 17, 2014 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
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Jul 26, 2012 rated it liked it
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 rated it it was ok
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.
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane Drennan Pavia
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Che delusione di libro!
Jan 20, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
was there any point at all to this?
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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.
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