With a sharp eye for comic detail and a wicked ear for the absurdities of life, Dawn French shows just how an RAF girl from the west country with dreams of becoming a ballerina/bridesmaid/thief rose to become one of the best-loved comedy actresses of our time.
Here Dawn French invites us into her most personal relationships with, among others, her mum and dad, her husband, her daughter and her friend Jennifer.
Dawn reveals the people, experiences and obsessions that have influenced her and that helped shape her comedy creations - including dogs, grandmas, teenage angst, school, stealing and David Cassidy. She is as open about her fears and sorrows as she is about her delights and joys, and for the first time shares the experience of losing her beloved dad and later finding a tip-topmost chap in Lenny Henry.
From raging about class and celebrity to describing the highs and lows of motherhood and friendship, Dear Fatty reveals the surprising life behind the smile.
©2008 Dawn French; (P)2008 Random House Audiobooks
I love to read or listen to auto-biographies and biographies but usually prefer auto-bios (unless historical figures, of course, and I still like the biographer to use as much of the figures own writing, etc.). As a fan of Dawn French, British humor, Absoluteley Fabulous and the Vicar of Dibley - I suspected I would like this book but really knew nothing about Dawn French other than the TV shows (how she started, her family, her association with Jennifer Saunders, etc.) I learned all about those things and more. What made this particularly interesting is the format she wrote this in. Each chapter/section was a letter to various people - her deceased dad, her husband, daughter, friends, etc. She creatively used the letter to explain her relationships, thoughts, advice - you name it. It was so interesting - funny and sad in parts - touching and honest throughout. The only negative part (and it isn't really negative) is that she sometimes refers to stars, star scandals and other matters that are apparently well known in England (but not in USA - Well, she does live in England and this was undoubtedly primarily targeted for the Britich reader.) All that said, great listen. While she did not read it, the person who did read it sounded just like her. If you didn't know it was her - you'd swear it was. Just listening to her letter to her father in relation to his death (by suicide) is a lesson on forgiveness and love and worth the price of admission. Thanks for bringing this to us Audible.
What a laugh out loud book. Beautifully narrated, at times I thought it was Dawn herself reading to me. I could feel her pain, disappointment and joy. I really recommend this book to anyone that's a Dawn French fan. Thank you for a lovely book, hope to read more of your books....
Hare & There
Dawn French covers many, many topics as she writes letters to friends, family and the dearly departed. Her correspondence to them creates a memoir that is vivid, funny and insightful. Wish she would have narrated, but understood why she didn't. Liza does a good job with it though. Highly recommended, especially if you are in need of some humor.
Tell us about yourself! I love to escape into a good book.
It was a great listen, I have followed Dawn French since French & Saunders.
Dawn, this is the story of her, and what an interesting journey she has had.
She was fine but I would have preferred to have Dawn read it, but because of the personal nature of this book, she felt she could not do it without breaking down.
Yes I might later on.
I enjoyed the book immensely and I hope she writes another one to bring us up to speed.
She is now divorced from Lenny and it would be great to see how she is doing now.
I unfortunately listened to this after Stephen Frys autobiography and it was like listening to Noddy after listening to War and Peace. I found it a disappointment and to have it narrated by someone other than herself was an added disappointment.
A lovely book that brought me to tears from laughter and then from sadness. Her letters are very personal, fun, and beautiful. I loved it.
What a great listen
Yes there are funny moments as you would expect but there are also some quite sad times as well
Thanks dawn for a glimpse into your life
Great narration- it's not Dawn, but someone who sounds very much like her.
Lovely bio for someone as tender and lovely as she is funny.
I love Dawn French, and loved the book. The narrator sounds exactly like her. However, did I somehow skip over the kiss list, or was it not included? I am so disappointed not to hear it.
I was at first a touch disappointed that Dawn was not reading this herself however, having now heard it I understand why she said that it would be difficult for her to read without 'getting a bit tearful'. Lisa Tarbuck does an excellent job - so no problems there.
The book is very open and appears honest with lots of insights to Dawn's family, friends and past influences. Her letters to her late Father moved n]me to tears as they reminded me of the things that I should have liked to have said to my Dad when he was alive. It tugs at every emotion yet remains light and amusing - a good listen, I was sad when it finished I felt I was losing touch with a friend.
A great audiobook alround.
Anyone who feels they are missing out with missing Dawn French's own voice should be satisfied with Lisa Tarbuck's reading.
Honest, heart-felt and compassionate all the way through - a real insight to her life so far.
I am not an avid fan but enjoyed this greatly.
Would happily recommend to anyone who don't mind laughing out loud or feeling the odd lump to the throat. Be warned - this book is very capable of doing both!
"Nice story, but not a great book"
This is an honest and heart warming account of such events in her life as Dawn French wants to share. The book is in the form of letters to various important people in her life and this turns out to be a nice way to shape and drive the narrative forward. She's very honest, and there are some difficult subject, so she has been very brave.
My main problem with the book is the writing style. Often a word is repeated in a sentence, something that you might not notice so much when reading, but it really jars in an audiobook. She also uses the same descriptive and effusive phrases over and over again, fine when you're talking, not when you're writing. But the style is very chatty, so maybe others won't be so picky! The only other thing that slightly irked was the way that everyone she's ever met is so wonderful, special, loved etc.
Overall I enjoyed it, but based on the writing, I wouldn't read or listen to her novel.
"Disappointingly lacking in story and detail"
No I would not recommend this book. I love Dawn French's wonderful vivacity and love of life but the book is an almost endless sequence of gushing eulogies to her friends and family and sadly lacks much of the actual cut and thrust of her life. Far too much time is spent on her childhood memories with a brief nod to the later more interesting (to me) part of life in which she worked with so many actors and comedians that I'd like to hear more about.
Really that you don't hear the actual story of how her life as a comedienne panned out - it is mostly what leads up to that happening and lots of descriptions of people she loves being utterly wonderful and interesting. By the end I felt almost depressed at how she appears to live in an alternate universe to one I know - where everyone is fascinating, accomplished, intelligent and full of fabulous qualities. Certainly as a testimony to those who she loves it is moving but as a memoir and story of a really interesting life it disappoints.
She simply reads as narrator - it is not a series of characters - she reads pretty well but I did rather miss Dawn French's particular intonation and try to imagine some of the words in her distinctive style. Liza Tarbuck is a good performer but cannot make up for the lack of real drama and interest in the way this book is composed. It does have some charm to it however and she conveys that.
Actually it did - it did inspire me to get out and play more as above all Dawn French's life seems to have been one in which play has been her work and her leisure - she is so overwhelmingly positive and whilst that makes it a slightly irritating listen at times, I could not help but be infected by her absolute love and appreciation of her own experiences - that was inspiring - to hear how someone could quite simply make the most of and truly enjoy life by playing at every opportunity and not seeming to take it all too seriously. It also inspired me to be a little more expressive in appreciation of those I love - her family's encouragement and absolute love and support is what has provided her with a deep inner security that has meant she has seemingly effortlessly achieved success and recognition - as a testimony to the power of such an upbringing it works.
It seems churlish to write a critical review about someone's life story - I would have liked more of the life and less of the gush but you certainly do see what a remarkable and warm person Dawn French really is so I came away with more respect for her as a person but not much desire to read or listen to more of her writing. I lover her performances, her personality and her presence and I would have loved to hear more about her experiences in the world of comedy. If she chooses to write more about that and less about telling friends and family how wonderful they are then I would be interested. But it does give an insight into her success - she just makes the most of everything. As a treatise for the power of not being perfect and of positivity making a life work this demonstrates that more than any self help book. Disappointing story but inspiring woman.
I anticipated a true reflection of a period of Dawn's life that would provide an insight into the person. I couldnt get on with this book. Less of a reflective peice and more of a contrived "stand up" stint. The stories didnt ring true and I longed for her to "keep it real". I gave up with this book after a couple of attempts. Real life is so often much funnier.
Not sure what I was going to get from this book, a bit of French and Saunders or just one of those usual autobiographies that most famous people write.
Well, our Dawn delivers an impeccable book, that is emotionally charged in all areas of her life.
The icing on the cake for me was hearing her own account as the pages of her life unfolded.
Thoroughly enjoyed listening to it thanks Dawn
"Great listen will listen again full of feeling"
What a fab book .This is a laugh a minute and narrated so well that you almost forget its not Dawn reading it herself Lisa Tarbuck does such a good job , this is one book I will never tire of listening to again and again but has left me wanting more ?come on get writing you know you want to :0)
"A lucky first audio book!"
This was my first ever audio book and what a corker! I found her 'letters' extremely endearing, often funny, sometimes sad, yet sentimental. I was really surprised at the 'realness' of Dawn's recollections. There was no sugar-coating and wasn't a hint of exaggeration for comedic effect. The stories were just genuinely engrossing to listen to. Such beautiful story-telling. I've much respect for Dawn French having listened to this. What a woman :)
Lovely lovely book, what a great lady. Moved me, and made me laugh hysterically all in one train journey. Much love with the split, this book made me so sad to hear that news.
"Well Read But Quite Dull"
Liza tarbuck does a brilliant job of reading this book - in fact I dread to think how dull this book would be if someone else had read it. The book has an unusual style in that it is written as letters to various people in Dawn French's life - this probably works very well in the written form but I quickly became irritated by hearing 'Dear...' again and again.
I'll admitt to skipping chunks of this book (something I rarely do) because I was bored but this made things harder as the book is not chronological so I missed out on some stories. This is not a bad book but it is quite tedious in places and I'm at a loss to find the parts that have other listeners laughing out loud.
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