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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Penguin; Unabridged edition (25 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • 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 (611 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 343,651 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

82 of 90 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 Denise4891 TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When we first `meet' Silvia Shute she's lying in a coma attached to a life support machine following a fall from a third floor balcony. It's fair to say that at the time of her accident Silvia was not universally loved. Estranged from her family (by her own hand), she is described by various visitors as "a bitch", "a freezing shut-off lady" and having a hole where her heart should be.

The story is told in alternating chapters from the viewpoints of Silvia's ex-husband Ed, daughter Cassie, sister Jo, char-lady Tia and her redoubtable nurse, Winnie. The characters are diverse and, on the whole, believable (I did feel that Jo and Tia were a little OTT at times).

With our heroine lying prostrate on the hospital bed imprisoned in a vegetative state, the other characters take the opportunity to unburden themselves and tell Silvia how they really feel about her. They also take time to reflect on how their own lives and their relationships with Silvia came to be in this sorry state - with the exception of Tia, who takes great delight in keeping the comatose Silvia updated on the latest celebrity gossip (including the sad demise of the marriage of Katy Perry and Russell Grant!!).

As you would expect from Dawn French, the humour is gentle for the most part, but the story takes a darker turn half way through when the true circumstances behind Silvia's `accident' come to light.

I've enjoyed both of Dawn French's novels and I really think she's carving a niche for herself in the market for humorous and humane novels with a bit of an edge, in a similar vein to the likes of Sue Townsend, Marina Lewycka and Marian Keyes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Frances Stott TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I came to this novel with mixed feelings, as novels by celebrities are so often disappointing. But I had heard good things of this one, so I thought I would give it a try.

And I'm so glad I did, for Dawn French writes beautifully. This is the story of the eponymous Silvia, who is lying in hospital in a coma after a fall from a balcony. Into her hospital room comes a series of visitors, and as they visit they reflect on Silvia, their separate relationship with her, and their own stories. Much of this is done in the form of speaking aloud to the apparently lifelss Silvia, and all to the background of the regular hiss of her ventilator. Among the visitors is her ex-husband, Ed, her mad sister Jo (who is determined to rouse Silvia by whatever means she can; supernatural if need be), her cleaner Tia, her estranged daughter Jess, her best friend Cat, and the lovely West Indian nurse Winnie (my favourite character). As they talk we build up a picture of Silvia and her life, the affect she has had on others, and the dark secret that comes to light in the course of the book. The characters are drawn with great warmth (this is one of the book's greatest strengths), and it would be hard not to sympathise with any of them.

My only slight problems would be the fact that two of the characters - Tia and Winnie - speak with strong accents, and this can be distracting. Winnie's West Indian is beautifully done, but the addition of Tia's broken English was, I felt, going a step too far. Parts of the novel, too, are a little over-long (especially the lengthy letter from her soldier son in Afghanistan). But these are small niggles.

This novel has come out at just the right time, and will I'm sure make a lovely Christmas present for anyone wanting a light, funny, entertaining read. I highly recommend it.
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