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A Tiny Bit Marvellous

A Tiny Bit Marvellous by Dawn French was given to me a year or so ago by my youngest daughter who thought I might like it... me being a fan of the wonderful comedian, star of The Vicar of Dibley and one half of the comedy duo, French and Saunders.


Mo Battle, a child psychologist, is fast approaching fifty years of age. Her life is all routine, family, job etc. but she's also trying to write a book about how to deal with children in their teenage years. Her own teenagers are Dora, almost eightteen and Peter, sixteen.

Dora is a pretty typical teenager. She's obsessed with her looks, with clothes, with fitting in, with friends. She thinks she's fat, has a best friend, Lottie, who she feels she would die for and she's not very academic. Dora also loathes her mother and they row constantly.

Peter is not your average sixteen year old boy. He idolises Oscar Wilde and demands that everyone call him 'Oscar'. He's very affected in his mannerisms, a bit of a dandy in the old-fashioned sense, and pretty much scathing about everyone.

In the background there's Dad, who doesn't like rows but behind the scenes, and reading between the lines, is pretty much the rock of the family.

Mo is with a small firm of psychologists, just her and her boss, George. Into the mix come Veronica and Noel, two junior psychologists who are to work with the firm as part of their college buddy scheme. Mo is assigned Noel, who is in his thirties, very good looking and from New Zealand. During a chance meeting Peter/Oscar falls madly in love with Noel. The problem with this is that Mo is also slowly finding herself very attracted to him. Noel is paying attention to her which is something she doesn't really have in her life at home. Will Mo take the ultimate step with Noel? And if she does, will the family manage to survive?

Each chapter in this book is written from the point of view of three of the characters, Mo, Dora and Peter. To do that it's crucial that the author gets the voice of each person distinct and individual: Dawn French manages this admirably. Mo, comes over very strongly as an over-controlling mother who doesn't realise that she is that way. Being a psychologist she over analyses everything, but you feel for her as basically she's just a mum trying to do her best for her family. You could slap Dora, quite frankly, but she too is vulnerable and scared a lot of the time. Teenagers are cruel and things happen which make you feel so sorry for her. When writing makes you infuriated with a character and sympathetic at the same time it must be pretty good.

The book is a bit slow starting in my opinion. This does allow time to really get to know the family but some might think it drags a bit and perhaps I did think so a little. I'm glad I persevered though as it takes off mid-way and becomes a bit of a page-turner. You can see the train-crash coming and after a while I couldn't put it down. What I didn't see coming was a brilliant little twist at the end.

A Tiny Bit Marvellous was Dawn French's first attempt at fiction after her autobiographical, Dear Fatty. I gather after writing that she realised she loved writing and didn't want to stop. My eldest daughter tells me that Dear Fatty is excellent, so I now have that on my library pile. My youngest says that her second book, Oh Dear, Sylvia is a terrific read too, so I'll be getting that at some stage. I'm so glad that Dawn made the decision to continue writing as she's very good at it. Having watched her for years on various TV shows her voice is very evident in her writing. But that's ok... she's a very funny lady and we need books that make us laugh, which this book does. But it also made me think a great deal, which gave the book a bit of an unexpected depth. I do hope she has something else in the pipeline as I think I'll be reading her entire output pretty quickly this year.

A Tiny Bit Marvellous is my second book for Bev's Mount TBR 2015 challenge. And that's two chunky books, so far, off this shelf:

bookshelf 012x2



This sounds good. I've always eyed her books a bit sideways, because I'm a bit wary of actor-turned-author, but it sounds like I should give her a go! Hearing her acting voice was one of the things I was wary of, but it would be different if it works, and you make it sound as if it does. I might have see what our library has - I was browsing their shelves vaguely for a funny book the other day...
Me too, tbh. But I got given this one and it was taking up room on the shelf *g* so it was time to read it. And I was pleasantly surprised. Be warned, plenty on Goodreads didn't like it. And I can understand why as the daughter is very annying. *g* But by and large I enjoyed it once it got going properly.

I owe you an email... will get to it soon.
Sounds great! Over the years I've begun to see Dawn French as a writer first and foremost, because of her prolificacy (I take no credit for using this word, I had to look it up...don't hit me, please...) in creating (both alone and in partnership) the many, many scripts that she's performed so brilliantly on TV.
I can see where you're coming from there. Although I still think of her more as a performer - mainly because she's always been around on our TV channels - I am now starting to think of her as a writer equally as much.
First off, happy 2015 to you and yours! It's been so long since I posted as DB that I can't remember my password - it was probably time to change it anyway. :)

I like Dawn French enormously, so I think this will be my first book of the new year. Sadly, it's out of print in the US, and Amazon.UK won't sell Kindle editions to American customers. Boo! But I found a used book seller in Detroit who has it for <$1, and it's on its way!

Don't you love buying books in the 21st century?
Thank you and the same to you. :-)

It's really annoying that we can't buy Kindle books from each other's Amazon shops. I also need to train American friends that when they send me Amazon gift tokens they send them via AmazonUK as that is possible I believe. (I send them tokens from AmazonUS so I assume the reverse is possible). That way I don't end up paying a massive amount of postage when I spend the token. Amazon could certainly do with making itself a bit more user friendly.

Anyway, I do hope you enjoy the book!