'Don't judge a book by its cover'? But that's what I do, frequently. It was no different with this book cover either. From the cover, one thing is obvious: it's chick-lit. Right? Wrong.
Book title: 'Reading in Bed'. So it's got a lot to do with books or book clubs. Right? Not really.
Firstly, this book is not chick-lit. It is a moving, emotional, sensitive story of two middle-aged friends, Dido and Georgia. While Georgia is struggling to come to terms with her husband Henry's death, Dido suspects that her beloved husband Jeffrey might be having an affair. The two women bank on their friendship and a book here and another book there, to help them handle several daunting problems in their lives and in the lives of their children.
Sue Gee is a brilliant writer. And her characters are very realistic, unforgettable and evoke sympathy, without being too whiny. I went into the book expecting something light, funny and nice, but I ended up with a poignant, witty analysis of human emotions and life in general. Reading in Bed achieves what The Memory Keeper's Daughter wanted to but couldn't, and makes it look like so easy.
Initially, I felt that since the protagonists were quite old, I would find the book boring. I presumed that it would be tough to relate to the main leads. But Gee's wonderful, easy writing made me get so very involved in the book and I adored her lead characters!
Coming to the point I'd made earlier, this book doesn't have an important role for books/book clubs. The books are secondary aspects, though the characters frequently reminisce about their favourite books. That way, the title is misleading : this book isn't as much about the books or reading in bed, as it is about the lives of two book-lovers.
One major fault in this book is that, sometimes, things get just too repetitive. Repetitive feelings of despair ( For example: 'Oh, how I miss you!' 'Oh, how I miss you!' 'Oh, how I miss you!' 'Oh, how I miss you!' ) might add to realism, but they also add to boredom. And sometimes, there is a nagging feeling that the book just tries too hard. Also, I found the lack of quotation marks very distracting. Regardless of these aspects though, this beautiful, witty, tender book is worth a read.