Author: David Whitehouse
Genre/Audience: Literary fiction, adult
Publication: Scribner, 2011
Bed is the story of two English brothers, one of whom is Malcolm Ede, a man who got into bed 20 years ago on his 25th birthday and has not come out since and now weighs over 1,000 pounds. The novel is narrated by his younger, unnamed brother, who tells the story of Mal, and how it has affected their family and the people around them. The story switches between the past and the present, talking about their childhood, and now, how everyone’s life revolves around Mal who cannot even move.
I thought this book sounded incredibly interesting. I’ll be the first to admit I’m addicted to all those documentary shows on TLC about strange/unique people, so I expected to love this book. However, despite the interesting subject matter, the book seemed to really drag. It seemed like the author was more focused on making this into some kind of epic literary statement piece rather than a story about a 1,400 pound man. Yes, it was technically about Mal, the 1,400 pound man, but it focused more on his brother and his anger about the situation. I really wanted to hear from Mal, know why he did it, how he felt about it, get a glimpse into his psyche, all that good stuff, but it was all his brother, reflecting on the situation and their childhood.
I can’t say I’d highly recommend this book, sad to say. I didn’t dislike it, or hate it, but it was quite boring, which seems impossible based on the topic, but it really kind of was! While I thought it was interesting to see how the situation affected the family and all of that, I still really wanted to hear from Mal himself, and I never really did, which left me feeling disappointed.
My Rating: 2.5/5