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 shed 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 Frenchs equally talented friend Jennifer Saunders) and the sitcom The Vicar of Dibley, where Frenchs 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.
"Funny, as you would expect, it's also warm, poignant and raw in places. And she has a wonderful ability to remember what it's like to think as a child." (The Express