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Dear Fatty [Paperback]

Dawn French
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (280 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

2 July 2009

Dawn French is one of the greatest comedy actresses of our time, with a career that has spanned nearly three decades. Loved for her irreverant humour, Dawn has achieved massive mainstream success while continuing to push boundaries and challenge stereotypes. Here she describes the journey that would eventually establish her as a perhaps unlikely, but nevertheless genuine, national treasure.

Dawn began her career as part of the groundbreaking alternative comedy group, the Comic Strip, marking a radical departure from the more traditional comedy acts of the time. Later came the all-female Girls On Top, which teamed Dawn with Jennifer Saunders, Ruby Wax and Tracy Ullman and firmly established women in British comedy.

As part of the wildly successful and much loved duo French and Saunders, Dawn helped create a repetoire of brilliantly observed characters, parodying popular culture and impersonating everything from Madonna and Harry Potter to The Exorcist. Dawn's more recent role in the Vicar of Dibley showcased not only her talent but also her ability to take a controversial and topical issue and make it mainstream - and very funny.

From her early years as an RAF child and her flat-sharing antics with Jennifer Saunders, to her outspoken views on sizism and her marriage to Lenny Henry, Dear Fatty will chronicle the extraordinary, hilarious rise of a complex, dynamic and unstoppable woman.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; 1st Arrow Book Edition edition (2 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009951947X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099519478
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (280 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dawn French has been making people laugh for thirty years. On purpose.

As a writer, comedian and actor, she has appeared in some of the
UK's most long running, cherished and celebrated shows, including
French and Saunders, The Comic Strip Presents ..., Murder Most Horrid,
The Vicar of Dibley, Jam and Jerusalem, Lark Rise to Candleford, and more
recently, Roger and Val Have Just Got In.

Product Description

Amazon Review

It's become a cliché in Britain to call somebody in the entertainment field a national institution -- but that's exactly what Dawn French is. As both comedienne and actress (the latter in both comedy and straight parts), she has become one of the best loved entertainers in the country. Her range is not wide (unlike her dimensions -- and that's the sort of joke she’d crack), but she is utterly winning in everything he does. And that quality continues in Dear Fatty, a truly entertaining memoir of an event-packed life.

The form of the book is a series of letters by French, conjuring her transformation from a West Country RAF girl to a star of the cult alternative comedy group The Comic Strip. This was followed by the groundbreaking all-female Girls on Top (which did much to establish the position of women in British comedy), the astonishing success of the TV series French and Saunders (with French’s equally talented friend Jennifer Saunders) and the sitcom The Vicar of Dibley, where French’s wickedly sardonic touch keeps the tweeness of the basic situation -- female vicar in a rustic town -- at bay.

For French, early dreams of becoming a ballerina or an air hostess came to nothing, but the loss to the worlds of dance and aviation was a gain for TV audiences. All of that, of course, is covered in this frequently hilarious and often moving collection. We are invited into her most personal relationships with (among others) her mother and father, her husband (fellow comedian Lenny Henry), and, of course, her most important comedic ally, Jennifer Saunders. Everything French describes -- from the agonies of being a teenager to the death of her father -- and (of course) the way in which society defines her by her generous size -- is treated with a highly diverting insight. Fans of Dawn French's TV appearances will lap it up, but Dear Fatty has a lot more to offer, even to those only vaguely familiar with her. But is anyone in Britain only vaguely familiar with Dawn French? --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"something of a revelation. Beacuse in among the the gags and photos of her bare bosom, there is intellectual rigour and real emotional intelligence ... heavens, she's a funny lady. I can't remember the last time a book made me laugh so much." (Sunday Telegraph)

"a national treasure ... Loyal, self-deprecating and garrulous, French's story makes for entertaining reading ... this is an original book, and will delight her fans and, indeed anyone with a sense of humour" (Mail on Sunday)

"well written, warm and funny" (Sunday Times)

"she writes so well" (Daily Mail)

"no-holds-barred" (List)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
201 of 207 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Find out about the career AND the person... 17 Oct 2008
By Michelle Moore TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Dawn French doesn't need any introduction - she is a well known comedy actress, loved by many, and is most well known for being half of French and Saunders, and as the wonderful Vicar of Dibley.

What surprised me about this autobiography is the fact that the focus isn't really on her career, and her fame. It's certainly a large part of the book, outlining her early days in the Comic Strip, the films she took part in, as well as her recent roles.

However, the fascinating aspect of this book is the way that Dawn shares her life growing up, the relationships she's had, her heartaches and her joys. She fiercely loves her family, her friends, and her colleagues, and that shines through. (However, she most certainly does not like Madonna! ;))

The book is written as a series of letters, to various people.. a large proportion of these are written to her father, and it's easy to understand why, as he had such an affect on her. One particular letter had me in tears, and I was so glad to see Dawn reaching a type of resolution by the end of the book.. which did make for a good place for it to finish.

Dawn's voice is obvious in the book, you can almost hear her speaking it in your mind.. in her own unique style. There are serious moments in the book, but the humour that you expect is always there. Who else would write a letter to her niece, talking about her life ahead of her.. including what it may be like to have a big bosom?!

For anyone who has enjoyed watching Dawn French over the years, I would highly recommend this autobiography, not only as a peek into her life, but also as a better understanding of the sort of person she is.
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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
I really enjoyed this autobiography. I was expecting lots of the usual, 'woe is me, what a bad life I've had' diatribe that's usually found in autobiographies, but no. Dawn French is witty (obviously) but also self-effacing. She remains positive even when discussing the death of those closest to her.
The format of writing a collection of letters to loved ones also gave this a personal touch and a heart-felt warmth.
I'm no ardent Dawn French fan and I don't think you need to be to appreciate the humour and candid nature of her writing.
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107 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, warm and funny: a tremendous read 4 Oct 2008
This is a beautiful book by a beautiful person, Dawn French. It made me laugh and cry which is quite remarkable when most autobiographies simply go out of their way to list the author's achievements.

Dawn has made so many people laugh over the years: now she will surprise them with her writing.

Thank-you, Dawn, for the most un-showbizzy of memoirs! You are blessed to have such a wonderful family, and your love for them is evident on every page.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant read! 7 Oct 2008
This is one of the best autobiographies I've ever read. It's a very funny, clever and sometimes sad look at the life of one of Britain's comedy greats. From her relationship with her father, to when she first met Jennifer Saunders and the spiralling celebrity which ensued, this book is packed full of brilliant insight into Dawn French's life. I urge you to buy it.
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87 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dawn's delightful new read 7 Oct 2008
Although the title nearly put me off, (wondering if this was going to be another celeb confessing eating disorders) I really loved this book! An absolute gem which I am now recommending to my friends.

What is really clear is just what a lovely, warm, funny person Dawn French is, her writing had a real resonance for me having had similar experiences and she really touched me with her revelations about her past.

An inspiration to women and a hilarious read, I highly recommend it!
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I always knew Dawn French was beautiful!! 8 Oct 2008
I just saw this great book this morning and grabbed it. It is just loaded with some truly great photos, many in colour. Dawn French once said her father told her she was beautiful. I personally have always thought so, too. When you read her own true story and see these great and many rare, never before published photos, I think you will agree that Dawn is not only tremendously talented and funny but is truly one gorgeous babe, too!! Highly recommended!!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars honest 30 Dec 2008
Dear FattyIt was after the first chapter I realised this reminded, me, a little, of Adrian Mole, it feels like a form of voyerisum reading another persons letters or diary. Dawn you made me cry and laugh in 1 page and on many pages. I bored my husband to tears reading snippets to him. Rest assured I am one of the other nominated people who keep planes up in the air by sheer mind power alone!!
There are no shocking revalations of abuse or addictions, no scandal no horror, just an honest look into someone's memory. I have fallen in love with Dawn on this read alone and I promise not to pull up a chair at your restaurant table or shout out your presence if I see you out. Read this for it's simplicity and it's affection. I wish I was one of the letters recipients.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Life 21 Oct 2008
By Pigrit
Dear Fatty has made me smile, made me laugh, made me cry and made me reflect on my own life. It was a great way for Dawn to "talk to" her friends and family and to share her life story (to date) with everyone. I loved the way it was written and the fact that I can almost hear her speaking. Great book!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I am not a big fan of Dawn French but I thought it might be good for...
The least interesting autobiography I have ever read . I am not a big fan of Dawn French but I thought it might be good for light reading whilst on holiday but I found it neither... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Rex Earnshaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
Really interesting. Lots of funny moments but also really touching and emotive. A glimpse of the real woman and her fascinating story.
Published 2 days ago by FairyVicki
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book. Bought dawns other books after this.
Published 8 days ago by Princess
3.0 out of 5 stars not impressed
didn't think it was written in letter form so find it a bit rambling so hard to remain interested
Published 10 days ago by mmrs j fribbancecollins
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read
Published 12 days ago by Little legs
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved the first 70% then got a bit bored.
Published 12 days ago by Mrs Judy A Hibbert
2.0 out of 5 stars DISAPOINTING
Just could not get my head around the letter format,love Dawn but not her book. sorry to say, please try again
Published 12 days ago by Mr. P. Watkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!
This was a very funny read. Surprisingly emotional & heartfelt at times. Brilliant! If you like Dawn French it is a must.
Published 18 days ago by Clarabelle
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and enlightening.
Dawn French is so entertaining with anecdotes from her past. Brilliant read. loved the way it was written as letters.
Published 22 days ago by dippydee
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant
I bought this for my husband and he was laughing out loud all the time whilst reading Dear Fatty and just adores Dawn French even more after reading this book.
Published 1 month ago by Linda McRae
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This is the Best British Autobiography that there has EVER BEEN!!!! 0 18 Jan 2009
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