In the High Peaks

Sunday, July 31, 2011

About Laughing Hysterically

Today I finished reading Alice in Bed, the debut novel of the popular American novelist Cathleen Schine, which was published in 1983. (Her most recent novel is The Three Weissmans of Westport (2010).) I have always wanted to read Alice in Bed, because Alice, the college-age heroine, tells the tale of her nearly year-long hospitalization for a debilitating, dangerous ailment that temporarily cripples her. Yes, I know, it doesn't sound like a funny book, but I was doubled over laughing through portions of the book.

Warning! Before you run out to find this book, I must say the reason why I was guffawing my way onto the floor is because I, too, as a young person, was confined to a hospital bed for an extended period of time. I tried reading passages aloud to Ken, but he just didn't get the humor, and I was laughing so hard I didn't care he didn't get it. Ken was absolutely right when he looked at me askance, and said, "I think you have to know the context to get the humor."

Exactly! If you have ever been helplessly ill in a hospital as a young adult, or as an older adult, you may find this novel excruciatingly funny. I think. Or maybe I'm just weird. Maybe Schine and I are sympatico because we were born the same year. (No, I won't identify the year, silly!) I'm feeling a bit sensitive about my age today.

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