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Review: A Tiny Bit Marvellous by Dawn French

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

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.

A Tiny Bit Marvellous is available now from amazon.co.uk in paperback and on Kindle.

This post was filed under: Book Reviews, .

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