Dear Fatty Paperback – 2 Jul 2009
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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 the Hardcover edition.
"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)
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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!
This memoir made me laugh and cry, a little bit embarrasing when you are reading it on the train home!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoyed reading about her earlier years and her family and also how she met Jennifer however a few parts like other reviewers have said were a bit boring-however I always loved... Read morePublished 9 days ago by mrs s mchugh
This is a very entertaining book and a very personal insight into the author and her life story. Highly recommend it.Published 1 month ago by Catherine Roberts
Excellent, a very enjoyable read,l shall look forward to reading other books by Ms FrenchPublished 1 month ago by sammi
My wife thought it was boring so donated it (with other books) to their company libraryPublished 1 month ago by KC Tommy
Very disappointing. Disjointed and unfunny. I can only think I have a different sense of humour to everyone else. I love Dawn but not her book I'm afraid.Published 1 month ago by Jennifer
Lovely book made me like you even more vicar also a lot of tears. Your tribute to Len made me appreciate my lovely husband but made me wonder why you went your separate ways it... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jo Jones
Very interesting and well written book. Have read it twice now. Would like her to write the next chapters of life since.Published 2 months ago by melj