Book Review: Oh Dear Silvia by Dawn French


What’s it about?

Who is in Coma Suite Number 5?

A matchless lover? A supreme egotist? A selfless martyr? A bad mother? A cherished sister? A selfish wife?

All of these. For this is Silvia Shute who has always done exactly what she wants. Until now, when her life suddenly, shockingly stops.

Her past holds a dark and terrible secret, and now that she is unconscious in a hospital bed, her constant stream of visitors are set to uncover the mystery of her broken life. And she must lie there, victim of the beloveds, the borings, the babblings and the plain bonkers.

Like it or not, the truth is about to pay Silvia a visit. Again, and again and again…

My thoughts

British actress and comedienne Dawn French is back with her second fiction novel Oh Dear Silvia. I’d read her autobiography which I really enjoyed and her first novel A Tiny Bit Marvellous which I didn’t love but having had heard Dawn French discussing this on the radio I was really keen to read it.

Each chapter is dedicated to a family member or friend that visits Silvia on certain days and times and they explain the relationship between them . It took at least half the book for me to get into it and at times unfortunately I found it a bit of a chore.

There’s far too much underlining for my liking, I can appreciate the importance of certain passages or words without them being underlined, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a book with quite so much underlining and also the American spellings of organize, realize etc – irritating (but not the author’s fault I expect).

From about 2/3 of the way through the plot starts to unravel and we find out how Silvia became to be where she is and then I started to enjoy it more. It reminded me of the TV series Dawn French starred in during the ’90s – Murder Most Horrid.

The majority of the characters you really feel for (except Cat) but I felt most sorry for Cassie, all she wanted was for her mother to love her and all she felt was abandonment. I won’t spoil the ending but I did keep wondering throughout if Silvia would wake up and I found myself wanting her too so she could put right all that was wrong, especially for her children and grandchild.

Overall, it’s an ok easy read which you’ll enjoy if you’re a fan of Dawn French or like stories told through several narratives.

Hardbook version available from Amazon Oh Dear Silvia

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