Grafton Public Library

Review: Bed by David Whitehouse

Posted by switham on

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Bed by David Whitehouse is the story of a family wrought by one member’s refusal to get out of bed. The main character, Malcolm Ede, is a man in his 40s who went to bed on his 25th birthday and decided to never leave it again. The story is told by his younger brother, also in his 40s, who like his brother, still lives with his parents in the bedroom they grew up in.

The story unfolds, oscillating between childhood memories and the present. Mal started out as an eccentric child who ruined family outings with his outlandish behavior. Mal’s family cannot hold him accountable, and as a result, they become hostages of his actions. As a young adult, Mal is handsome, athletic, and popular. He meets a girl named Lou, and both Mal and his younger brother fall in love with her. However, finding a job, getting married, working, having a family, working more –essentially what most people do when they grow up– is completely unacceptable to Mal. He is convinced there is an easier way to live, and turns to (or into) his bed.

David Whitehouse writes beautifully. His descriptions are so vivid and original, I found myself rereading sentences just to linger over them a little longer; however, Bed was difficult to read due to the nature of the story itself. As readers, we want to know, Why? What motivates humans to act as they do? Whitehouse keeps us engaged on our search for answers.

As reviewed by Valerie Evans

Currently available in regular print version only:
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