Review of 'Oh Dear Silvia'

Oh Dear Silvia by Dawn French

oh_dear_silvia.jpg Silvia Shute is in a coma lying in a hospital bed visited by friends and family cared for with a great deal of tenderness by nurse “Winnie” who suffers through their odd behaviour. Ed, her insecure ex-husband who starts to regret leaving Silvia. Silvia's rather eccentric sister “Jo” who will (literally) stop at nothing in her attempt to wake her. “Tia”, Silvia's overbearing foreign cleaner complete with difficult-to-follow accent. “Cat”, Silvia's drug-taking lover and “friend”. The bitter daughter “Cassie” turned out onto the street after becoming pregnant. It is through these odd characters that we begin to learn more about Silvia and they begin to learn more about themselves despite Silvia not saying a word…

An interesting, amusing and often poignant exploration of not only how people react when faced with the loss of a loved one but also what they reveal of themselves. The motley collection of characters put together by French are certainly an interesting bunch and keep us guessing as to what they will do next. There is an air of mystery here about “Cat” that slowly comes to light as the chapters pass. On the subject of chapters, each is devoted to a particular person's visit with Silvia. The threads of all the different stories come together to a satisfactory and quite bittersweet conclusion.

As is quite common in French's writing, “Oh Dear Silvia” is quite simple to read but is grounded in reality with a number of life's hard truths contained amongst the often humorous prose. She might not win any awards but I am sure most of us will find a bit of ourselves in these pages and be able to smile when we recognize it. A good, light and quite emotional read.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2018-06-10

Genre: General Fiction

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 2012

ISBN: 9780141046358

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