Everyone hates the perfect family. So you’ll love the Battles.
Mo is about to hit the big 50, and some uncomfortable truths are becoming quite apparent: She doesn’t understand either of her teenage kids, which as a child psychologist, is fairly embarrassing. She has become entirely grey - inside, and out. Her face has surrendered and is frightening children.
Dora is about to hit the big 18... and about to hit anyone who annoys her, especially her precocious younger brother, Peter, who has a chronic Oscar Wilde fixation.
Then there’s Dad, who’s just, well, Dad.
This is the story of a modern family, all living in their own separate bubbles and lurching towards meltdown. It is for anyone who has ever shared a home with that weird group of strangers we call relations.
Oh, and there’s a dog. Called Poo.
©2010 Dawn French (P)2010 Penguin Books Ltd
This audio book is absolutely delightful. Centred on three members of the Buttle family, they each take turns giving us snippets from their diaries, revealing extraordinary tales of everyday life. The emotions, journeys and revelations are beautifully written and superbly narrated by Dawn French. You will become wrapped up in the characters eccentricities and learn to love them, faults and all. I laughed, cried and laughed a lot more. Well done Dawn; you certainly have given us a marvellous book.
This book was exquisitely and expertly narrated by the author, the highly marvellous Dawn French (whose early comedy sketch with Jennifer Saunders of a disordered mother and daughter eventually led to Absolutely Fabulous).
The novel is told in the voices of four members of the Battle family -- 50 year old mom having a midlife crisis; still-rivers-run-deep dad; 16 year old son with an Oscar Wilde fixation; 18 year old daughter Dora always about to hyperventilate in absolute, outright, oh-my-actual-god indignation. The story came together powerfully well in the last chapters and the ending was highly satisfying.
However, I did find the first half of the book slow. Far too much reflection and exposition by the characters, not enough story. Except for Dora. Dawn French's characterization is so rich and funny that even Dora's most self-absorbed, outraged uptalk is a treat. I could listen to Dora talk about nothing all day long. In fact, I kind of miss her now.
Hilarious, narration was fantastic, story was entertaining, very enjoyable.
Laughing out loud several times whilst on the train going to work.
Dawn's voice brings her characters to life.
Laughing out loud in public - several times.
Very enjoyable, please write another Dawn!
I loved the story, kept me interested. Dawn did a fantastic job with all the voices her tone was very enticing. Would highly recommend .this audio
I was quite looking forward to listening to this but I just couldn't get past chapter 12. To be honest, I'm not sure how I got that far. Dawn French's performance is lively, if not a bit over the top. I was just not captivated and couldn't relate to, or stay interested in the ramblings.
Everything - narration, story, characters...Loved it!
She IS the book...her narration is wonderful.
The scene when the daughter meets her internet friend...extreme reaction! Not saying why...it would spoil it...
I am an Australian woman who enjoys reading many different styles of books, from history to sci fi and mystery to poetry. I also love to listen to the same whilst not paying attention to other things. I aim for my reviews to be short and succinct so that they are easy to read.
I love Dawn French and was looking forward to listening to this. Dawn read it well but the story is average and her performance suffers as a result. Buy it if you are a fan and have the credits available but otherwise you are going to be a bit disappointed. It won't have you rolling on the floor laughing.
"Indeed a whole lot of marvellous"
I started the book a little apprehensively. I mean Dawn French is clearly a very funny lady, loved by millions and I guess moving those talents to a novel, was putting her reputation on the line.
No such fears. The book is excellent. It is broken down into manageable short chapters in a diary format, which make it a very easy listen. Flicking between the characters doesn't detract from you getting to understand them and I defy anyone not to relate to at least one of the members of the modern family. Mum's having a mid-life crisis, an eccentric son, a rebelious daughter addicted to Facebook and dad, somewhat the quiet one (but not for long!)
If you are a middle-aged mum with a teenage daughter I suspect you are going to be reflecting on how true Mo's life is, with all the crisis management and day to day worries she faces.
It's wonderful to hear Dawn reading the book too and expressing her own characters. I can't help wonder how much of it she bases on her own experiences. The book comes together beautifully for the finale.
Dawn French, take a bow.
"A little predicatable"
I loved Dawn French's autobiography, with it's lovely flowing tone, so I was really looking forward to this book. I have to say I'm disappointed. The story is predicatable and rambling, and the voices of the two teenagers quickly became annoying. The girl was so cliched I found myself flicking through the endless pages of 'omg I hate everything'. The boy's character was the opposite extreme in that is was daft and pointless.
This book was an ok read, but I won't be bothering with any of Dawn's future books.
"More than a tiny bit marvellous"
I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. Told by godess herself (we bow to thee oh gracious Dawn French) you can imagine everything happening in this household with Dawn playing the leading role. The story is pleasantly dull for the first half of the book, and by that I mean that its a safe, day to day family, something I think all of us would aspire to have, with little drama (accepting the lovely character Dora)- and from half way onwards, becomes very slightly darker. A great twist in this tale, which I confess to not working out until right at the very end and which makes you smile, and sit back in your chair and smile again, and have a cup of tea and a biscuit. Beautifully written and delivered. If you want some light entertainment, I would highly recommend this one.
"Took a while but loved it!"
Loved, loved this one. I really like Dawn French and I'd heard great things about this book but initially I found it a bit humdrum. Then suddenly it took off and I loved it. The characters are beautically observed and Dawn's narration is just perfect. I thought the plotline developed really well and it wasn't what I was expecting at all. A poignant ending, I'd really recommend this.
I thought this would be really funny, clever and.... well ....entertaining...forget it! This is the first audio book that I have actually given up on having listened to just over one hour. I can only describe it as 'strained' as it searches to find the funny side of raising a family through adolescence et al - There is a lot to laugh at on this subject but not in this book which written and read in a haughty arrogant manner. Very disappointing!
"Listen of the Year!!"
I Loved this book. Well written and very very funny- as well as moving and real...I think you will find it is a great big bit marvellous- and the reading is flawless- a must listen.
"Very typical Dawn French"
As she narrates her own novel and she is such a familiar voice and character herself it is difficult to separate her from the story here. It is very funny and you can clearly identify all the Dawn French alter ego's in the characters. Did find it a bit repetitive in style and the story didn't move on very well for me. Stopped listening at chapter 30 as found my mind was wandering. Will go back to it though.
"Not at all Marvellous."
I am a massive Dawn French fan & loved Hello Fatty, imagine my surprise when I sat and listened to this complete drivel. One of the only books I have ever left unfinished, it was too painful to listen to. I found the characters to be completely unrealistic, for example, I thought the whiney Dora was about 9 years old but she is supposed to be 17, ridiculous! Sorry Dawn, but no-one is more gutted than I that this is a non starter.
"Oh Dawn, must try harder..."
It is, of course, an absolute pleasure to listen to Dawn French for 8 hours and this has a fair few chuckles. The book's a bit weak and the ending is very disappointing but in the same way that I've hoped Stephen Fry will do another decent novel, I hope Dawn French will have another go, as this shows potential.
I absolutely love Dawn French! And this book screams typical Dawn. The voices of the characters are so fitting, especially the teenage daughter. Her little rap is hilarious! Definitely a funny listen or one to make you smile
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