Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Oh Dear Sylvia by Dawn French

Well, what a surprise for me when I found out one of my fave TV actors was an author, too. Dawn French is the lead character in the BritCom "The Vicar of Dibley", which I just love. She plays the Vicar of the church in a small English town, in which lives a host of characters and I mean they are characters. She has had many roles in Brisitsh TV and comedies, plays, movies you name it. I didn't know what  to expect with this author but I have to say, boy, am I glad I read the book.
This is the story of Sylvia, who you learn right off is in a hospital in a coma after falling off her balcony. Her story is told through the people that come to visit her while she is in the hospital. It is the story of her visitors, too.
Ed, her ex-husband who is still not over the "sudden" divorce. Next is Cat, the woman Sylvia left her marriage & family for. Her daughter Cassie, who was told when she got pregnant as a teen that there was no room for her in the family home and she was thrown out on the street. The granddaughter Willow, although she never actually goes in to the hospital she nevertheless is a part of the story. Her son Jamie, who is away fighting in Afghanistan and has washed his hands of his mum for abandoning the family. Her sister Jo, who is constantly trying crazy voodoo-like cures to get her sister to wake up. And there is Winnie, the Jamaican nurse who has taken very good care of Sylvia for the short time she has been in the hospital.
The book is divided into chapters by the character who is in the room at the time. I loved the premise of the book to begin with: what would you say to a person lying in a coma to try to bring them out of it? I think these visits ended up as time went on, a way of all the characters to discuss their problems and work out solutions. Sylvia seemed to be at the center of both problem & solution, but was she really?
This book had some predictable outcomes but definitely some un-predicted twists, too. What a roller coaster..... funny, sad, poignant, mysterious....
I recommend you grab this book when it hits the shelves in June. Maybe go on-line and  find French's other books and get a copy of those. That is what I intend to do :)

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