Reading in Bed by Sue Gee
“There they go, two clever women of sixty, making their way through the wet towards the car. They’ve been to a literary festival; now they are going home: Dido to York, and Jeffrey; Georgia to London, and an empty house. Clouds roll back over the hills: it’s clearing.”
The story of two life-long friends opens with this wonderful scene, which a reader can’t help but wishing they were a part of. Being in the car with them discussing the writers they’ve met and heard at the festival, but soon enough as the story of their life unfolds we see that life is rarely as one wishes it to be.
Georgia has caring friends, book clubs to attend, a daughter she worries about but nothing takes her mind away from the fact that she is a widow. She loves her husband, she wonders why he is not there and she still expects that he’ll come back to his studio.
Dido is sweet-tempered and has her hands full with grandchildren, planning holidays and giving thanks for her husband who is of late becoming withdrawn. Her life has seemed so perfect almost but there are cracks and she’s trying to hold it all together and not say anything as if by silence she can will things to be fine but soon she’ll have to confront her problems.
Both women have some serious crises on their hands, a loved one who’s life may be in danger, children whose lives seem misguided, health issues and other strains but through it all they learn to rely on friendship and books to get them through life’s setbacks. There are lots of literary references sprinkled throughout the story so that alone is fun to read.
Despite this mainly being the story of the two women, a few other characters also feature prominently and unfortunately sometimes I just wanted to keep reading about Dido and Georgia and not so much from the other characters’ point of view.
Still I enjoyed the story because I found it easy to relate to, maybe not specific situations but just the unpredictability of life. No matter how well structured you may have your life or goals, changes come out at you some good and some not so good. Luckily for us this novel reminds us that love and friendship can get us through the rough moments.
This is my second Sue Gee book. I read The Hours of the Night a couple of years ago and like that one quite a bit. How about you, have you read any of her books?