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The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year

2.92  ·  Rating details ·  10,445 ratings  ·  1,524 reviews
The day her twins leave home, Eva climbs into bed and stays there. For seventeen years she's wanted to yell at the world, 'Stop! I want to get off'. Finally, this is her chance. Her husband Brian, an astronomer having an unsatisfactory affair, is upset. Who will cook his dinner? Eva, he complains, is attention seeking. But word of Eva's defiance spreads. Legions of fans, b ...more
Hardcover, 437 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Michael Joseph (first published January 1st 2012)
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Janet Jones Just finished this book. Loved it. I missed the shop owner's comments but did spot mention about the stained chair when people sat on it so presumed…moreJust finished this book. Loved it. I missed the shop owner's comments but did spot mention about the stained chair when people sat on it so presumed no-one cleaned it (hard to clean tomato from anything let alone embroidery!) Husband now thoroughly enjoying book too. I shall have to read it again once he's finished. (less)
Fiona Lonely - None of your interactions are honest so you could never know if anyone was showing you genuine kindness or affection. And as NearMayhem says…moreLonely - None of your interactions are honest so you could never know if anyone was showing you genuine kindness or affection. And as NearMayhem says having to remember all your lies - it must be exhausting!(less)

Community Reviews

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2.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,445 ratings  ·  1,524 reviews

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Mar 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-on
Sometimes I forget that I don't have to read everything that comes into my bookstore.
Shirley Revill
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, fiction, humour
Eva's family are really selfish and poor Eva seems to do everything with no one to lend a hand.
When Eva's twins finally leave home she gets into bed and stays there for a year. She doesn't eat or drink unless someone brings it to her bed and she has to devise a plan just to go to the loo as Eva's feet can't touch the floor.
Soon Eva attracts the unwanted attention of the neighbors, media and strangers. This is much to the consternation of Eva's husband who is busy sowing his wild oats in the gard
Jun 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
Oh gosh. I hate to disparage an author's hard work. I hate to be negative when I consider how much time, effort and soul has gone into writing it. I've enjoyed Townsend's other work, Adrian Mole was hilarious. However, if I can save you from wasting your time reading this book then perhaps it is the fairest thing I can do.

This is a horrible book about horrible people who live horrible lives and do horrible things to each other. The characters are (with one exception) selfish, narcissist, feckles
Beverley Ferris
Feb 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
I was really looking forward to reading this book when I spotted it on amazon. A walk down memory lane as Adrian Mole was a fav during my teenage years.

Didn't quite know what to make of it.

I assumed it would be a parody of life. A woman who, having had a difficult life full of hardships finally giving up and retreating to bed. I kind of had in mind "The woman who walked into doors" or a "Rachael's holiday" - a story to unfold.....What I got was the story about a relatively well off , beautiful
Well, it's one of those books that keeps one reading hoping that the ending might be worth it. It wasn't. It just ended. I'm sure the author had fun writing it, and I had fun reading it. But there was much more than just fun behind those well-written words.

The book won a 2012 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comedy. And it was indeed a rip of modern dysfunctional, dismantled families, drowned in -isms and postmodern practices. The woman in the bed inspired different reactions from differe
Nov 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was surprised by so many negative reviews of this book. Lightweight fiction it is but it doesn't pretend to be anything else. I was drawn to it by the name of the heroine, Eva; the fact she was a librarian and that there were twins. In fact I couldn't put the book down. I can see a Tv series being made of it - very visual! I think it's gripping because everyone has been in the situation Eva finds herself in: fed up with everyone taking her from granted. Alexander would be played by Idris Elba. ...more
Aug 30, 2015 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the tired
Shelves: brits
Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible

It's that time of year when I have to ease myself back into a routine of actually going to work, you know, getting up early, appearing in the classroom looking kempt at the very least, if not well so, and, much more to the point, with 90 minutes' worth of scintillating and rewarding activities to promote active use of English prepared. Then add on to that the private tuition, which involves careful calibration of the precise amount of chivvying,
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
‘The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year’ (2012) by Sue Townsend – is the entertaining, amusing, compelling and for the most part, perceptive story of our main protagonist Eva – who chooses to stay in bed for a year – along with the practicalities of doing so and the resulting ramifications and emanating shock waves.
Ostensibly, Townsend’s novel is a light, humorous and unpretentious look at modern middle-class (dysfunctional) family life – the story of a woman who makes a conscious decision (being
Sep 09, 2012 rated it liked it
As I am currently experiencing a bit of enforced bed rest, this seemed an apt book to read!

It is billed as ‘laugh out loud’ and ‘wonderfully funny’, according to the back of the book Jeremy Paxman said “The publishers could offer a money-back guarantee if you don’t laugh and be sure they wouldn’t have to write a single cheque” – I am not so sure that I agree. It is certainly sharp and well-observed, with humorous descriptions in places, but is it a comedy? I think not.

Beautifully and intelligent
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
This book was in a nutshell, absolutely TERRIBLE. So, not funny at all. But hey, my review might make up for it and give you a laugh.

I was ready for some light laughter with a good chick-lit book to break up the massive amount of serial killer filled crime book and psychological thrillers that were threatening to make me permanently depressed. I picked this one off my book shelf, a REAL book, breaking away from the millions to review on my Kindle. (Rebel). I bought this at a book stall (bottom
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: easy-read
I have never written a review in my life but there is always the first time.
I will try.

I only gave this book 2 stars instead of 1 as I didn't hate it.

Daily Mail said 'I laughed until I cried.' Sunday times also 'Laugh-out-loud...'
I guess I have no sense of humour? I laughed only 4 times at the beginning of the book.

This is a story about 50 years old Eva who went to bed for a year.
No, she wasn't in coma, she has decided to.
After 100 pages I was tired and wanted Eva to leave the bed but unfortuna
Dorothyanne Brown
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've been a Sue Townsend fan ever since Adrian Mole painted his room black (except for the show-through Noddy hats) in The Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4. She manages to weave humour and pathos through her books, making them eminently readable and slipping truths into them under the cover of odd characters and interesting situations.
In this book, Eva's twin children, autistic brilliants who never relate to anyone else, have left for university, and Eva decides to retire to her bed. Forever.
Feb 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I would probably give this book a 2.5 if that option existed, if only for the first few chapters. I've always liked Sue Townsend and found The Queen and I very funny.

This book begins with real promise. I liked the way the characters unfolded and could sympathize with Eva's weariness with the whole repetitive and thankless domestic cycle. Behind the laughter, I could feel the sadness, particularly in Brian, as horrible as he was.

But then it began to feel as if half ripe plums were being lobbed my
Sarah Goodwin
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
I think expectations ruined this book for me. I'd read some magazine articles about it before reading, including one that said it was the book that people should be obsessing over, instead of the 50 Shades series (which I heavily dislike). The cover quotes were also very exciting, saying it was hysterically funny, witty, passionate etc etc.

I've read maybe one other Sue Townsend book, and that was The Queen and I. So, I didn't know what to expect from this book, and I'm still not sure what catego
Eve Williams
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Prior to reading this book, my only experiences of Sue Townsend were Adrian Mole, whom at my mother's suggestion I read when I was younger. As remarkable here as in her other writing is Townsend's ability to cloak what is, upon reflection, often quite a set of starkly grim human truths in humour.
On the day that her 17 year old twins move to university in Leeds, 50-year old Eva Beaver discovers a soup stain on the arm of the chair she painstakingly upholstered herself. This is the final straw, a
Simon Taylor
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
Sue Townsend tries to be clever with The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year and is making an obvious effort to straddle comedy, drama, tragedy and social commentary. Unfortunately, the effort is more obvious than the result and the tone is uncomfortable throughout.

The plot is simple, and potentially interesting. A middle-aged woman effectively has a breakdown, decides to go to bed and stay there for a year. Her family and an expanding cast of bizarre eccentrics become entirely responsible for her
This book was a little strange and whilst I wanted to like it a lot, mainly on the merit of the author, I’m afraid it was quite tedious to read at times.

The book definitely seems like a book of two halves to me. Fortunately the fact that Townsend is a gifted and able satirist saved the first half of the book somewhat and, as an ever-curious reader, I quite enjoyed seeing where it would all pan out around the theme of escape. The second half, however, where Eva Beaver, a ‘beautiful’ (we are told)
Louise Culmer
Sep 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
I hoped this book would be funny, but sadly, it isn't. A woman called Eva decides, for no good reason that I can see, or any reason at all, to stay in bed for a year. Somewhat improbably, she manages to get several people, including her husband, mother, and mother-in-law, all running around bringing her food and drink. Even more improbaby, a handsome handyman called Alexander takes an inexplicable fancy to her, and starts running aroun waiting on her too. And people start coming to her for advic ...more
Tania Lukinyuk
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was going to give it 3 stars. I ended with two because of very poor ending. It is an easy read, yet the one which leaves you with major question of why you wasted all that time reading about a fifty-year old eccentric woman along with all other eccentric English people of various ages in the novel which clearly demonstrates how very strange and different Englishmen are. The novel is based on strong social irony but to my taste it was at times too straightforward and primitive to be enjoyable.
Jun 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comedy
This was ostensibly a comedy novel about a woman whose life was not going the way she wanted it to.

I won't write a detailed review, just a few pros and cons.

- Some bits were funny. (Only some.)
- Idea of someone giving up on life & hiding under duvet is both easy to relate to and yet absurd, thought it was a good premise for a comedy novel.
- Parts about the twins were good.

- Main character wasn't likeable. Can imagine the same plot written to make the main character seem despairing
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read many unkind reviews of this book, and, to all of its critics, I must reply: clearly you've never been stuck on a dreadful merry-go-round that cannot seem to be stopping (or slowing down) for about two decades. I've not been either. But I do know how it is to want to shout to the scenery around you 'Stop! I want to get off! I've just made the one bad decision - do I have to put up with it forever?'
And I think one must be heartless to not resonate with Eva ever so slightly. I mean, reall
Nov 22, 2016 rated it liked it
I genuinely don't know what to say about this book. I was frustrated beyond measure by the main character, Eva. She takes to her bed the day her twins go to college because she feels she needs to. She needs to step off the never ending carousel of making dinners, shopping, organising and taking care of everyone. OK I can respect that. But as the months pass and she doesn't even want to take the few steps to use the en suite, I was irritated. Yes she feels overworked and overwhelmed but as her hu ...more
2.7 stars

Eva is simply fed up and would like the time to simply think. On the day her husband drops her mathematical genius twins off to college, Eva crawls under her duvet and decides she's not coming out again, for at least a year.

Eventually, word gets round about Eva's decision and she is soon revered as something of a saint. People come to her for advice about everything, the likeness of her face appears in cooked objects and Eva shrinks within herself as her fear of leaving her bed grows a
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Take this book for what it is---a dark satire---and go with the book's main premise---being a mom and a wife is an exhausting, thankless job---and you will have one fun ride of a book. If you don't fall in the book's targeted demographics, if you are not, say, a tired mother or a weary stay-at-home wife, you may put the book down in exasperation. Though if you are, say, child of a tired mother or, say, husband of a weary stay-at-home wife, know that this book may lead to a full-fledged household ...more
Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The blurb on the cover describes the book as being hilarious, laugh-out loud stuff.
Actually, that is not entirely true. I found it rather to be profoundly sad. Sue Townsend's writing style does provide a number of laughs, mainly due to her descriptive powers and the ridiculousness of some situations. I wouldn't classify it as a hilarious book. I would say that she shows amazing insight into the quirks and hang-ups of human nature, and there are lessons to be learned from the situations that ari
Louise Jones
ummm not sure what star rating to give this yer i did laugh occasionally but it dragged on so with the scenes of bed and how fed up with life she was yer we all feel like that sometimes and after a day recover the boredom sets in and the insomnia but was a good book to picture the scenes with the helpful cab driver and window cleaner and all the people coming to gather outside . I found the children amusing with more or less identical names but the was it ended abruptly was just hey what !!!!
Nick Imrie
Oct 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, comedy
It started out mildly amusing, but it just got more and more tragic, and less and less funny as it went. I had to force myself through the last few chapters just to say that I'd finished it. I was heartily sick of every character by the end. What a bunch of nasty, petty, little narcissicists. Way too much cringe, not enough charity.
Jade Heslin
Sep 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Woman Who Went To Bed For a Year is the story of a woman who goes to bed… For a year. And boy, do I envy her! Not only does she manage to wallow in her pit for 365 days, but she even manages to lose weight in the process. I’ll wager that if I ever attempted such a thing, I’d be a jubbering mound of lard by the end of it. Her secret: she never asks for food – she just waits it out to see who will bring it to her.

This makes me think that Eva is not suffering from agoraphobia, or a mental brea
Oct 15, 2013 rated it did not like it
I looked out for this book because a woman in my art group said she was reading it and it was quirky.

Note to self : don't listen to this woman again.

Ok, maybe I'm a little hard to please right now, but I'm looking for fiction that is truly quirky in the sense that it makes you smile and feel a little hopeful or feel that you have satisfactorily escaped for a while without having to really think too much.

This book is not 'quirky'. It may be a little different and ok, there were parts along the wa
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2017 Reading Chal...: The woman who went to bed for a year - Sue Townsend 3 25 Nov 10, 2015 08:46AM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Susan Lillian "Sue" Townsend is a British novelist, best known as the author of the Adrian Mole series of books. Her writing tends to combine comedy with social commentary, though she has written purely dramatic works as well. She suffered from diabetes for many years, as a
“She liked people. Me, I can take them or leave them, but mostly leave them.” 24 likes
“Will you lie to me and promise to read them? Books need to be read. The pages need to be turned.” 17 likes
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