Book Review: Dear Fatty by Dawn French

dearfattyTitle: Dear Fatty
Author: Dawn French
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Arrow Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy that was a gift from a friend
First line: Dear You, Hello.

Dawn French’s memoir Dear Fatty was one of the treats Michelle brought back in her suitcase for me when she returned from England. We’re both fans of The Vicar of Dibley series, which French starred in a few years back. (And we’re both more than a little jealous that she got to snog* Richard Armitage in the finale. Sorry for the gratuitous Richard pic; I couldn’t resist.)


I’ve seen her in various YouTube clips of interviews, and she’s as hilarious in real life as she was on the show. I was very curious to see if her humor and vivaciousness would translate onto the page. I needn’t have worried.

Dear Fatty is a memoir in epistolary form. There are letters to all the important people in Ms. French’s life: mother, father, daughter, comedy partner Jennifer Saunders, best friend, old boyfriend. Oh, and Madonna, David Cassidy, and George Clooney.

Through the letters the reader gets the story of her life: growing up and moving around to different bases because her father was in the RAF; her very different grandmothers; her relationship with her brother; her father’s suicide when she was 19; her college years and discovering her talent for comedy; her marriage to Lenny Bruce.

The letter form means that the memoir isn’t exactly chronological, but that didn’t stop me from getting a vivid picture of her family and her world. The humor was often outrageous and had me in near hysterics, wishing it wasn’t too late at night (I read most of it during readathon) to call Michelle and read her a passage. There is more than just humor here, however; Ms. French writes openly and heart-breakingly of her grief over her father’s death, the downside of living in the public eye, and the struggles of marriage.

When I closed Dear Fatty, I felt like I was saying goodbye to a dear friend.

*For my mom and anyone else not familiar with British slang, that’s not as dirty as it sounds. Snog means kiss.

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15 Responses to Book Review: Dear Fatty by Dawn French

  1. I’m really pleased to hear that you enjoyed this book. Dawn French is always funny and I love watching her. She is married to Lenny Henry, another big British comedian, so I have always wondered what it is like in their house. I would love to go round for dinner as I imagine they are a very entertaining couple. I’ll try to get hold of a copy of this book soon.
    .-= Jackie (Farm Lane Books)´s last blog ..Legend of a Suicide – David Vann =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Jackie – it’s not available new here in the US, so it was on the wish list I sent to the UK with my friend Michelle when she was there in September. 🙂

  2. Kathy says:

    The book sounds interesting even though I have no idea who Dawn French is.
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..Wondrous Words Wednesday =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Kathy – if you were a TV watcher, I’d tell you to watch Vicar of Dibley. 🙂

  3. Eva says:

    Never apologise for gratuitous Armitage pictures! 😉
    .-= Eva´s last blog ..Library Loot: October 28-November 3, 2009 =-.

  4. Amy S. says:

    As soon as you mentioned this on Twitter, I searched my library network and as mentioned above it’s not available in the U.S. so we’ll have to do with your review! Sounds sublime.
    .-= Amy S.´s last blog ..YOU BETTER NOT CRY: book review & GIVEAWAY =-.

  5. stacybuckeye says:

    Interestin to use letters for a memoir. Looks good.
    .-= stacybuckeye´s last blog ..9 in ‘09 with Barbara Delinsky =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Stacy – it worked very well, especially for someone who isn’t really a writer.

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  7. Artemissia says:

    Actually a ‘Snog’ means more than just a kiss. It can mean anything from a prolonged kiss, as in VOD, to a whole necking session!

    Loved the book – Dawn French is really funny!

  8. I am currently reading this and googled to see what others thought of it, really surprised it is not available in the US. And you can never have to much R.A., so thanks for posting the pic.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Sharon – I agree, there is no such thing as too much Richard! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  9. heidenkind says:

    Mmmmmm, yummy. ^_^
    .-= heidenkind´s last blog ..Announcing M/M Month! =-.