Bed by David Whitehouse
Posted by Caitie F on January 21, 2012
Summary from publisher:
Mal Ede, a child of untamed manners and unbounded curiosity, is the eccentric eldest son of an otherwise typical middle-class family. But as the wonders of childhood fade into the responsibilities of adulthood, Mal’s spirits fade too. On his twenty-fifth birthday, disillusioned, Mal goes to bed—back to his childhood bed—and never emerges again.
Narrated by Mal’s shy, diligent younger brother, Bed details Mal’s subsequent extreme and increasingly grotesque transformation: immobility and a gargantuan appetite combine, over the course of two decades, to make him the fattest man in the world. Despite his seclusion and his refusal to explain his motivations, Mal’s condition earns him worldwide notoriety and a cult of followers convinced he is making an important statement about modern life. But Mal’s actions will also change the lives of his haunted parents, his brother and the woman they both love, Lou.
When I read the description of the book, I thought I would love it. Then reading it became a little of a chore. It was not a bad book, I do think that if you like the description you should borrow it from the library. It just moved so slowly at times.
But even in the slow moments, the writing was beautiful. The comments on society were spot on and there were many points that had me thinking about: why many go on living a life they see nothing in, encouraging negative behaviors in those we love, and trying to put our own dreams ahead sometimes. It looked at society and these issues in a fresh way.
The book was funny at times. Reading about Mal’s antics as a child had be laughing really hard, but some of the humor felt very British and, while I tend to love British humor, I just didn’t think it was funny. I found some of it gross, especially when hearing about Mal weighing 100 stones and the elaborate descriptions. That was not for me.
The book had its ups and downs, but David Whitehouse is an excellent writer and I look forward to seeing what else he writes.