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A Tiny Bit Marvellous

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It’s terribly British with a lot of slang and cultural references that will be probably be unfamiliar to readers outside the Commonwealth yet the general gist can be interpreted. Not so much a narrated story as a series of diary extracts from each of the characters where we learn of their highs and lows, faults and failings, talents, hopes and dreams. The character of Peter was particularly well portrayed although once the point had been made that he was a flambouyant, precocious, self-deluded and barely believable teenager, he did (in common with the other main characters) become rather repetitive.

Further Reading Suggestion: If you like the sound of this book, you may also enjoy Dawn French’s excellent autobiography Dear Fatty. I had high hopes for this book, but found it sadly lacking in originality, laughs and an engaging story. Her first three novels, A Tiny Bit Marvellous, Oh Dear Silvia and According to YES , are all Sunday Times bestsellers.

There's Mo, the tired child psychiatrist mother, Dora, the Facebook obsessed 17 year old, and Peter, the precocious 16 year old obsessed with Oscar Wilde. Whilst not seriously pretending to present a psychological analysis of family dynamics, I also found the book reaffirming in the traditional family values of reliability and dependability over the perceived attraction of infidelity and illusory excitement. However, the great laughs I was promised just didn’t materialise, as I only laughed out loud once – a huge disappointment. This book seems to take as its premise that not only are teenagers constantly (and I mean constantly) at a fever pitch of screaming and hating their parents, but also that that emotional lability (screw you, Goodreads, that is too a word) and immaturity and utter lack of self-awareness continues through everyone's entire lives.

Dawn French’s voice is so distinctive and her bawdy humor and wry talent for comedic observation is evident when reading. So when I saw her first novel ‘’A Tiny Bit Marvellous’’ waiting for me on The Bookbag shelves I thought here’s another treat from this remarkable entertainer.The dialogue is like unbearable and like, it drives you nuts like, and you would have to be a total wonk to want to read this. Dawn French is one of my favourite comedians and I love her work so I was really excited when I found out she'd written a novel. Dawn’s writing in itself is exemplary, concise, easy going, and it’s all very well put together, especially as she juggles three separate narratives without losing the individual voices. Der Klappentext verspricht ein Buch voller Geheimnisse und Spannung, doch wer darauf hofft, dürfte reichlich enttäuscht werden, denn viel passiert nicht zwischen diesen zwei Buchdeckeln. The characters of Pamela and Dad are sadly only there, for the most part, in the background, but they give real heart to the story.

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