“ Genre: Fiction / Author: Sue Gee / Paperback / 352 Pages / Book is published 2008-05-01 by Headline Review „
I found Reading in Bed in one of my incursions to Poundland last year. I can't say that I had heard about the author before, Sue Gee, and coming from Poundland, the expectations were not immense, but the title caught my eye, as I am indeed one of those who enjoy reading in bed; and so did the basic storyline written on the cover of the book.
The plot itself is not too intricate or elaborate; it's in fact a bit predictable. The story evolves around the lives of two educated middle-aged women, Dido and Georgia. Friends since a very long time, they share the same interests in life, particularly the passion for literature. Their husbands we're also good friends when they met them, at university, and as they grew older and grew a family, the friendship bonds have been strongly kept. However, Georgia's husband has recently deceased (as we soon learn in the first pages of the novel) and she's finding it very difficult to face the solitude in an empty and silent house. On the other hand, Dido's joyful marriage soon proves not to be as perfect as it would give the impression - even to her. The narrative follows both friends as they deal with their particular struggles and anxieties in life, but also their own children (adults), as they have problems of their own, particularly in what concerns their troubled relationships.
Although predictable and sometimes even a bit too cheesy (I'm particularly referring myself to the ending, which by no means I intend to spoil for any of you), it does touch some very emotionally strong themes as bereavement, infidelity and illness, which makes it darker and more powerful than the common chick-lit.
The reader might find odd the absence of speech marks, like I did in the beginning, but once I got absorbed in the reading I actually found the writing style quite engaging. And honestly, it didn't take me much time until I got absorbed, as Gee's writing flows fairly well.
However, there were small things that made me a bit annoyed throughout the novel, like the strictly healthy choices for every single meal described in the novel (a very good example indeed, but a bit too hard to believe) or the stereotyped cultural preferences of the two women, who don't seem to do much more in their spare time than reading and discussing literature, spending holidays in country cottages and listening to Radio 4. It would have been nice to see the two friends going together on a weekend trip to Brighton and spending a small fortune in the Brighton Pier. =]