This book is a terrible match for me. It’s squarely and unashamedly aimed at middle aged women, it’s full of stereotyped characters and irritating text-speak, has a plot that’s largely predictable from the blurb alone, and a “twist” that’s both obvious and pointless.
And yet… I found it really quite endearing. It’s a novel of the “mental chewing gum” variety – no thought required – but it’s a pretty good example of that kind of book. It has genuine humour and genuine warmth. While the characters were stereotypical, dull, and at times a little irritating, I did begin to care about where their stories would lead: particularly Oscar, whose part steals the show.
The format’s a sort of modern take on the epistolary form, with different characters narrating each chapter in the first-person, as though they are writing in their own diary. This works especially well when the different characters narrate the same incident from their own differing points of view – a device which is frequently played for laughs in this book, with great success. Others have become irritated by the writing styles, and particularly the text-speak style used for Dora, but I think it all fits together quite well.
A Tiny Bit Marvellous was a quick and easy read, and I enjoyed it despite myself. It isn’t by any means a book that I’d return to for a second reading, but I’d definitely consider reading Dawn French’s next novel.