Alice Brody is struck down with a mysterious illness at age nineteen.

Her legs are stiff and she cannot walk, nor can she even move them. Pain accompanies every moment of every day. In the hospital, poked and prodded by endless doctors, she is seemingly engulfed by her ailments. Soon pain becomes her everyday companion, with no hope in sight. But then things turn around, the pain dissipates, and she is transferred to a rehabilitation facility.

Alice’s journey through a year of “lying in bed,” with very little progress, takes on a life of its own; we experience, along with Alice, this strange new world peopled with others in various states of disability. Then, slowly, Alice progresses enough for excursions out into the “real” world, and everything shifts. Now we see how the life she lived “in bed,” has become her world. Adjusting to life outside is almost as frustrating.

At points along the way, I found Alice’s perspective humorous and even insightful. But soon I bored of her and the other characters, wishing for it all to end. Perhaps that was the point of Alice in Bed: A Novel. Showing the reader how tedious this life of Alice’s could be. Nevertheless, I would only give this one three stars. Not Schine’s best work.


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