In a charming and witty novel in the tradition of Allison Pearson and Sophie Kinsella, Sarah Bilston tells the story of a busy career woman who finds her pregnancy a breeze-until she's ordered off her feet for complete and total bed rest.
Quinn "Q" Boothroyd is a young British lawyer married to an American and living in New York City. She's checked off most of the boxes on her "Modern Woman's List of Things to Do Before Hitting 30," and her busy working life has been relatively painless. But when her doctor tells her she must spend the last three months of her pregnancy lying in bed, Q is thrown into a tailspin. Initially bored and frustrated, Q soon fills her days by trying to reconnect with her workaholic husband, provide legal advice for her sweet Greek neighbor, forge new emotional bonds with her mother and sisters, and figure out who will keep her stocked up in cookies and sandwiches.
By the time she's 28 years old, British-born Quinn "Q" Boothroyd has worked her way through much of "The Modern Woman's List of Things to Do Before Hitting Thirty": a successful career with a New York law firm, check; an American husband she loves, check; and a soon-to-be child whom she likes to think was conceived during passionate, drunken grappling on the kitchen table, check. But for the last three months of her pregnancy, she's put on bed rest, left waiting for visitors, food and, hardest of all, her busy husband. When heavy exposition and the introspection of a self-absorbed protagonist don't weigh down Bilston's debut, written as Q's diary, it does offer a humorous glimpse into a pregnant woman's thoughts. Through her time-out on the sofa, Q questions the checklist and comes to terms with her marriage and herself. She rethinks her uncomfortable relationship with her mother and sisters, and establishes unlikely friendships with her visitors, a co-worker having an affair with a married man, and an elderly Greek neighbor, who involves her in a legal dispute that may jeopardize Q's marriage. Bilston, who spent time on bed rest herself, creates an authentic voice for Q, but her protagonist's housebound existence makes for a sluggish plot. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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May 31, 2006
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Excerpt from Bed Rest by Sarah Bilston
I haven't written a diary since I was twelve. Wait, that's not true. I kept one for about six months when I started dating Mike Novak. I still have the notebook somewhere, a scruffy green ring-binder half filled with teenage angst about Mike and his terrible kissing and his lamentable desire for a student nurse named Susie.
Writing a diary seems like an admission you have nothing better to do. It's the life story of a person who doesn't have a life. And frankly, I'm not sure that anybody's existence is worth recording for posterity, unless you're a world leader or a Theatrical Great or something. Maybe not even then. I read my grandmother's diary once, it was all about the weather and her trips to the Women's Institute and the progress of her runner beans. I'd rather leave no record of my existence than that. I'd rather my life was a big blank page, so my future granddaughter can imagine me as a toothsome lovely whose youth was one long succession of olive-skinned, silk-shirted men.
On the other hand, when you really don't have anything better to do, writing a diary is as good a way of passing the time as any other. It makes the hours and minutes seem less of a vacuum -- I thought, I felt. I existed. I suppose I'll just have to hide this book from any future granddaughters.