Monday, May 22, 2006 at 11:24AM
"A good beach read for New Mom/Mommy-To-Be..."
by Sarah Bilston
(HarperCollins, May 2006)
In a final nod to Mother's Day (in the U.S.), and in anticipation of all the new summer babies, both the famous and not-so-famous...BED REST is a novel about a hard-driven career girl living in New York City, ordered on bed rest for the final trimester of her pregnancy, at 26 weeks. (A typical pregnancy is 40 weeks.)
In diary format, "Q" (short for Quinn), writes out her angst and frustration at having to walk out of her career as a successful lawyer to lay on the couch in her small Manhattan apartment for three months, while her even more career-driven lawyer husband and everyone else in her life carry on merrily with their lives all around her.
Although the subject matter is serious, the tone is light, for the most part, albeit downright whiny for a good part of the book. BED REST is Chick Lit in all it's froth, with a first-person narrator as self-centered and obsessive as par for the course in books of this genre, constantly referring to her gimmicky list of life aspirations, her "Modern Woman's List of Things to Do Before Hitting 30." (Ugh.)
The writing is good, and I made it through the first 100 pages and kept going, although I was about fed up with Q's self-absorption and constant trashing of her friends, neighbors, co-workers, family, and long-suffering husband.
However, along about page 150, Q seems to grow up and begins to focus more on the ever-elusive balance in marriage and parenting, career and motherhood. She throws in some literary references to Sylvia Plath and Jane Austen, which are enjoyable, and reassure us that Q is at least a literate, well-read woman.
The author brought the various storylines and characters around to a satisfying conclusion, tying everything together in the last 100 pages. In the end, I felt more sympathy for everyone else than I did for the Mommy-to-be, but she still has some growing up to do, some lessons to master on that "Moderns Woman's List..."
BED REST is a quick and easy read, a great book for the beach or light summer reading, especially for women in the last days of their own pregnancies -- in moments of discouragement, during those final days of heat and discomfort, they can appreciate,
"At least I'm not on bed rest!"