Oh Dear Silvia Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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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)
From the Back Cover
The internationally bestselling author and acclaimed comedic actress Dawn French makes her American literary debut with this riveting novel of secrets, forgiveness, guilt, and love.
Silvia Shute has always done exactly what she wants. But after a fall from a balcony, her life has suddenly, shockingly stopped.
Now she's unconscious in a hospital bed, at the mercy of the mad friends and crazy relatives who have come to visit. Her beleaguered ex-husband, her newly independent daughter, her West Indian nurse, her bohemian sister, her best friend, her enthusiastic housekeeper, and others all share a piece of their collective mind with the complex woman the bad mother, the cherished sister, the selfish wife, the matchless lover, the egotist, the martyr they think they know.
And Silvia can't talk back.
As she lies there, captive to the beloveds, the babblers, and the stark-raving bonkers who alternate at her bedside, the dark and terrible secret she has been hiding for years begins to emerge.
Like it or not, the truth has come to pay Silvia a visit. Again, and again, and again..."See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
However having struggled through the first 10 chapters I do get the plot, indeed it is obvious from chapter 2, but I cannot for the life of me find anything even faintly humerous about all the visitors at the bedside of someone in a coma. I can't even believe the professional critics were laughing "on every page". I found I was dozing off after about 3 pages and I am someone who was so engrossed in a book I could not put it down and read it right through the night.
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.
I can't think of any one i know who might like this book.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just finished reading this,it is wonderful I enjoyed it so muchPublished 6 days ago by Graham Clifford
Great Book, Great writer, sadly missed. Would recommend any and all of her books. Good seller and delivery.Published 15 days ago by L. M. Ede
Didn t enjoy this book. Read Red and really enjoyed that, but Dear Silvia was so depressing so didn,t find it funny.Published 1 month ago by Ann Mosley
I was expecting it to be light hearted and funny, it wasn't. I was hoping the patient would wake up and discuss what had been said whilst in a coma, she didn't. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Xanthy
I could not put this book down. Not quite as funny as I had expected perhaps, but a wonderful story with fascinating characters.Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
A woman lies in a coma after falling from a balcony and the story is revealed gradually as people come in and out of the room to visit or care for her. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Alison Gray
Even although you could guess the ending, this book kept me enthralled til the end. I would recommend reading this bookPublished 2 months ago by Michelle Cross
This is the first time I have read a Dawn French novel. I really thought it was well written ,funny with much pathos. The characters are vivid and colourful. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Elaine Fretwell