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Oh Dear Silvia + A Tiny Bit Marvellous + Dear Fatty
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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Penguin; Unabridged edition (25 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1405909102
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405909105
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 3 x 13.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (606 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 426,521 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

Review

Beautifully observed. Makes you laugh on every page (The Times)

Hilarious. Chortle-out-loud turns of phrase, razor-sharp observations (Stylist)

Fresh, extremely funny (Sunday Times)

Really enjoyable and highly recommended. Dawn French is a wonderful writer - witty, wise and poignant (Daily Mail)

A hilarious and compelling read (Good Housekeeping)

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 this country'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.

Her bestselling memoir, Dear Fatty, was published to critical acclaim in 2008. Her first novel, A Tiny Bit Marvellous, was also a great success, going straight to No.1.


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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 89 people found the following review helpful By ACB(swansea) TOP 50 REVIEWER on 25 Oct. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This second novel by Dawn French is easy to read but in the early parts difficult to interweave the various contributions of the narrators into a cohesive piece of work. Persevere, it is worth it. Silvia Shute has fallen three floors from a balcony. She is in intensive care in a coma on life-support including mechanical ventilation. She is the younger sister of the eccentric Jo. They lost their mother at a young age and their army-trained father went off the rails. Sylvia divorced dependable Ed after showing little love for him or their two children, Jamie and Cassie who after leaving home had no love or respect for their mother.

This background is the canvas on which the author paints the past and mysteries of Silvia through a series of monologues delivered by family and friends. She is inert and unresponsive 'like a marble sarcophagus'. The content of the monologues alternate between love and hatred, sibling rivalry and jealousy with Ed in particular, 'dead inside'. The prose jumps from straight dialogue to charming descriptions particularly of the woods where Silvia and Ed spent much of their courtship. The dismal outlook and depressing medical predicament of this tragedy are broken by episodes of humour. The Indonesian Tia (Silvia's cleaner) spends her moments relating the contents of current gossip magazines in an amusing format. Jo refuses to give up hope and reality of waking her 'frozen sister' with a series of bizarre, funny and hilarious attempts to stimulate some response.

The novel is held together by Silvia's Jamaican nurse, Winnie. She treats Silvia with the repect she gives all her patients and is the only one with no axe to grind, no anger, hate or questions but only wishes good things for Silvia. She is a totally professional caring person.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. R. Trinder VINE VOICE on 17 April 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I suppose I should start by saying I'm a huge Dawn French fan and by extention French & Saunders fan. Her memoirs Dear Fatty is one of my favourites, it's deeply touching and I would toughly recommend it, however her new venture into fiction is a little disappointing. Her first novel A Tiny Bit Marvellous was good but not exactly great literature, and likewise with Oh Dear Silvia is rather flawed. This book is about the titled Sylvia unconscious in a coma, each chapter is a visitor to Sylvia, be it her ex husband, sister, best friend, nurse, daughter etc. Each visitor touched by Sylvia in their own way, some positive but generally negative.
Dawn French's background as a comedy actress really shows as her characters are very well drawn, if a bit ridiculous. The characters could have come straight out of the Vicar of Dibley or a French & Saunders sketch. The characters are the books greatest strength, they are funny, interesting and sometimes touching. However because the book is set in one place and is reduced to essentially monologues, reading it turns into something of a chore. You don't really get a sense of progression in this book, nothing really goes anywhere or takes a long time to go places. I get the feeling that this would be a rather brilliant play but as a book, its rather dull. It really does pain me to say that as Dawn French is a very talented lady however, i'd only really read this if you are a very big fan or perhaps not a fan at all as then you won't be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on 29 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book seems a bit confused as to what it is trying to be - a commentary on various diverse characters linked through the central character, who spends the entire book comatose and never contributes herself, or an offbeat whodunit. It's more poignant than funny, although there are some amusing moments. Some of the characters could be appealing but they didn't really come alive for me, and the actions of Sylvia, revealed through the others, were never explained in any way which allowed the reader to understand her motivation, or see events through her own eyes. The underlying 'mystery' was pretty straightforward and didn't create enough tension to hold my interest. It's an interesting concept, to write Sylvia's story entirely through the observations of others visiting her in hospital, but I'm afraid it didn't really work for me.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Carl Spencer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 May 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Dawn French has a great concept. Silvia lies in hospital in a coma. Her family and 'friends' come to visit her and, whilst sitting with her, recall old memories and reveal their inner secrets. Their lives have all been influenced by Silvia in one way or another and we learn more and more about their pasts as the visit count increases.

The problem is that the story and the way it's told just isn't very good. The story is neither funny, dramatic, romantic or poignant. It sometimes tries to be all at once and normally fails. It's characters are dull - as Silvia thought of some of them herself when she was alive and well - or just downright annoying. The characterisation and accent of Winnie, Silvia's caring nurse, teeters from stereotypical to a wee bit racist. The story development is slow, some of the hospital visits are the same or similar to those which preceded them. That may be representative of real life but an exciting book it does not make.

It was a real struggle to get through. Only in the final few chapters did the book pick up a bit and become a tiny bit compelling. Then it was over. The resolution was minimal, the final reaction 'meh'. Rest in peace.
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