A tiny bit marvellous by Dawn French

This is the book I most wanted for Christmas this year, and after some wrangling with the cherubs about who would be the lucky one to hand over the book of choice this year, the lovely Megan came to the party and this was her present to me.  I wanted to love love love this book, the first couple of pages had me hooked in immediately and the teenage girl who gets the opening chapter bore a remarkable similarity to teenage girls I have parented!  However, just like the real variety this one gets tiring very quickly.  The teenage boy who has adopted camp in the style of Oscar Wilde is amusing for a couple of chapters and then – whaddya know is also irritating.  The Mum of the book is it’s saving grace, along with the fabulous Grandmother, who was the one character where you could really see Dawn’s wit and clever way with words coming through, I loved the tea and sympathy, but especially the terrifically pointed comments she provided along with fabulous cakes.

I spend a lot of time in recent years saying “where is the editor?” when I am reading, and I think this book could have been infinitely better with the help of a big red ballpoint.  It is a constant frustration to me that so much ‘non story’ slips into the books I read.

This is a mid-life crisis, chick-lit-ish kind of book and obviously I am only the target market of the first, and chick-lit is just not for me, not enough action, too much navel gazing for me.  I really like Dawn French and I’m pleased I read the book, despite it’s faults and my rather ordinary attitude to it once I got to half way, I had to pour myself a large glass and lock myself away to finish the thing.   I am going to try the lovely sounding cake recipes at the end of the book.  Below is the promo for the book..

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4 comments

  1. Oh lord (I’m not referring to you, by the way), I totally agree with your observations re: editing. I read Dear Fatty a while ago, and found I was exhausted after a couple of chapters, that was as much as I could manage in one sitting so it took a while to get through the book! Enough with the indefatigable chattiness already! I want to read a book that’s been *written* well, not seemingly transcribed from the author’s meandering stream-of-consciousness!! Gah!

      1. See I’m a bit of a fan of the stream-of-consciousness style – but you are right, it is exhausting and I wanted just a bit more of a story. I want story come hell or high water actually! There is also the ‘issue’ of the constant ‘teenspeak’ in the book, but I didn’t even go there!

  2. I read Dear Fatty about this time last year and while I REALLY wanted to love it, I just didn’t – I did like it though.

    I totally agree re the editing thing (and I TOTALLY agree that it seems a major problem with a lot of published books at the moment – are we too afraid of “star” authors now to edit them properly? – by star I don’t necessarily mean celebrity but just popular authors). I found Dear Fatty needed work cleaning up the time line of everything, not to mention a bit of “let’s beef this bit up a bit and tone down this bit, shall we?”.

    Too many bits? 🙂

    I had to seriously consider whether I wanted to review this title or not – in the end I decided to go with different titles. As wonderful as I think Dawn French is as a comedian and an actress, I think she just needs a bit of a firmer guiding hand when it comes to her writing.

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