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Book Review: Oh Dear Silvia by Dawn French

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Oh Dear Silvia by Dawn French Book Cover In Oh Dear Silvia, Silvia Shute is in a coma. Silva has a secret; a secret that’s led to the end of her marriage with Ed, a breakdown in the relationship with her children Cassie & Jamie and to her having a lesbian relationship with Cat. Each of the characters are convinced that they are the only one that can bring Silvia out of her coma.

The idea behind the book is a fantastic one, but any writer would struggle to do much with their main character being in a coma. French uses the other characters having conversations with an unresponsive Silvia to tell the story. It meant there was an awful lot of telling, rather than a good mix of show and tell. French was forced put the description into the conversations. At times it was overly descriptive and occasionally made the conversations feel unnatural.

I waited for the paperback of Oh Dear Silvia and it did take me a while to get into the book. But once I was

hooked, I found myself at night thinking: I’ll just read one more chapter before bed. Then staying up late to read three chapters.

The pacing of the story was excellent. However a source of frustration was the repetitiveness of Ed talking about trees. Oh Dear Silvia is exceptionally funny, with the laugh-out-loud comedy usually being delivered by Jo, Silvia’s New Age Hippie Sister. The reader will also enjoy Winnie, Silvia’s Jamaican Pentecostal Christian Nurse who is cleverly written as she’d speak.

As the reader gets to know the characters and what’s happened between Silvia & them, a secret is slowly revealed. A dark secret that’s truly stupendous.

The reader comes to understand Silvia’s choice to cut off her family, that it was to protect them. Empathy develops for Silvia that leads to an emotional ending. The book did end prematurely, it would have been interesting to have seen the characters reaction to the revelation of Silvia’s secret.

Everything considered, Oh Dear Silvia is a mixed bag. It got lots of great aspects that you’ll enjoy, but it really is an easy read that’s intended for light entertainment. It is worth a read, but don’t expect for the story to be memorable or to cause you to think. Oh Dear Silvia by Dawn French is available to buy on Amazon.

On a personal level I love Dawn French and her first fiction book A Tiny Bit Marvellous. I gave it an excellent review. I will probably buy her next book, but can’t deny that this offering wasn’t as good as the high expectations I had.

Review soon,

Antony

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