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Three in a Bed - Carmen Reid
Member Name: brittle1906
Three in a Bed - Carmen Reid
Advantages: A very readable, modern novel .
Disadvantages: The plot contains a few negative elements in my opinion.
Review of Three in a Bed, a novel by Carmen Reid.
This review is based on the paperback version of the book, published by Corgi Books, 480 pages, ISBN 978-0552149471, cover price £6.99. Genre :- Modern fiction.
Three in a Bed is a funny and honest first novel about love, sex, business and babies in the twenty-first century.
The story begins on Bella Browning's twenty ninth birthday. Bella is an attractive, intelligent woman with a high flying career. E works as a management consultant for a top London company. She has been married to Don, a journalist, for a year. Don is some thirteen years older than Bella, they have a very comfortable lifestyle and although Don's work takes him away regularly, the marriage is a happy one. Bella used to be a typical city party girl but has steadied herself a little and is contented with her life on the whole.
The one fly in the ointment is the issue of a family, before they married Don had made it plain that he did not want children. This was not a problem as Bella felt the same way, but on her 29th birthday, Bella's 'to do' list includes the line 'Get Pregnant'. She cannot raise the subject with Don, as he is vehemently against having a family. Bella suspects Don's reluctance is due to the fact that his own father walked out of his life when he was a baby. Bella's own background was not terribly family orientated either, her mother suffered multiple miscarriages and her professor father was, in Bella's own phraseology, a 'serial shagger', which in turn caused her mother to have a breakdown. Although Bella's parents are still together, they have built a new life in Italy and she rarely sees them.
Bella decides that her best course of action is to stop taking her contraceptive pills and get pregnant without Don's consent. She hopes that when presented with a fait accomplis, he will comply and make the best of things.
Bella becomes pregnant and then begins the roller coaster of juggling a stressful career, a hectic social life, her marriage and her pregnancy.
Will Bella make a success of the transition from career girl to yummy Mummy?
Will Don embrace fatherhood?
You'll have to read the novel to find out!
Published in 2002, Three in a Bed is Carmen Reid's first novel. She has since gone on to write a further 8 successful novels for adults and 4 for teenagers.
Born in Scotland, Carmen Reid attended a boarding school in Edinburgh before moving to London where she studied English Literature at University College, London.
A willowy six footer, Ms Reid modelled part time as a student and says that she loved London life.
After finishing her education, she worked as a journalist in Scotland and London, before returning to Glasgow, where she now lives with her husband and children.
Further details about the author and a full bibliography can be found on the author's website:-
**My Thoughts and Conclusion**
Three in a Bed is a punchy, humorous novel. The dialogue is sharp and crisp, with more than a touch of chick lit sauciness.
This was the first novel from this author that I have come across, so I had no preconceived ideas or thoughts about the book. I had found it when browsing in the reduced section of a local bookshop and thought it looked an entertaining read.
The characters are typical of those found in the chick-lit genre, the high-flying successful female, the handsome older man, the flirty office colleagues, the trendy best friend and so on. Whilst stereotypical of the genre, the characters in Three in a Bed, work well. Carmen Reid has drawn very realistic picture of the central characters and her plot is very well crafted. I found Bella and Don to be believable and I felt a sneaking sympathy with them both and the situation they were in, although I did not altogether approve of Bella's behaviour....more about that below!
The coverage of Bella's pregnancy, her traumatic labour and her earth shattering anxieties towards the realities of caring for a fractious, hungry newborn, when dog tired and sleep deprived, were so true to life, that it seemed to me that the author was probably drawing on her own experiences of motherhood.
There are none of the fairy tale sweet slumbering baby images here! Ms Reid pulls no punches when describing Bella's total meltdown into a world of baby sick, dirty nappies, mind numbing tiredness and the effects becoming a parent has had on her marriage.
**A Couple of Negatives**
Whilst an enjoyable book, I have to say that I did not altogether approve of the central character drinking and smoking her way through the pregnancy. Yes, she was advised to give up by her (male) midwife, but told that it 'wouldn't matter too much' when she carried on.
I thought this was a foolish road to go down and of course I realise that it is fiction not real life, it does not send out a good message to pregnant mothers in my view.
I am sure everyone is aware of the implications of smoking and alcohol during pregnancy and perhaps hypocritically, as I am a smoker myself, I do not like to see this issue brushed aside even within the pages of a novel. I would have far preferred the character to show a little responsibility to her unborn baby and maybe the author could have woven a giving up poor habits scenario into the plot.
Another scenario that rather put me off this novel was the constant references to sex while Bella breast fed her baby. The description of Bella laying in bed breastfeeding, while her partner caressed her intimately at the same time, was actually rather revolting in my opinion.
Perhaps I am a bit old fashioned or prudish, but I really felt that this added nothing to the plot and was not really necessary.
In view of my negative thoughts I am awarding Three in a Bed a 3* rating.
Three in a Bed is a good read, perhaps not for expectant mothers given the realistic description of Bella's marathon 21 hour labour! The book was a little different to the usual chick-lit offerings and I would happily read other novels by this author.
Even though I found some parts of the novel to be a little outrageous, I would recommend this book to others.
Thank you for reading.
İbrittle1906 February 2011
N.B. My reviews may be found on other sites under the same user name.
Summary: Chick-lit with a difference.