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Oh Dear Silvia

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  5,789 ratings  ·  828 reviews
Who is in Coma Suite Number 5?

A matchless lover? A supreme egotist? A selfless martyr? A bad mother? A cherished sister? A selfish wife?

All of these. For this is Silvia Shute who has always done exactly what she wants. Until now, when her life suddenly, shockingly stops.

Her past holds a dark and terrible secret, and now that she is unconscious in a hospital bed, her
...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 25th 2012 by Michael Joseph
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Average rating 3.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,789 ratings  ·  828 reviews


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Belinda
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sharon
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book, when it finished I wanted to keep reading. It made me laugh, cry, feel anger and sorrow. I will admit that I have never started reading a book not liking any of the characters very much but, as the book goes on you realise that all the characters that come to visit Silvia in her coma have very important reasons for being there, some are selfish but most are there because they feel a need to set the record straight.

Dawn French has a knack of drawing you into the
...more
Dorothyanne Brown
Oh my.
I've read Dawn French's first book, "A Tiny Bit Marvellous", which made me howl out loud throughout and which was seriously funny and a tiny bit shocking.
So when I picked up "Oh Dear Silvia", I expected more of the same - something light and humorous, something to make me laugh and forget.
Instead what I got was the tale of a complex woman, one misunderstood by almost everyone in her life, told through the visitors to her hospital room, where she lies in a coma.
French masterfully takes us
...more
Heather
Oct 20, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I received this book for free through the Goodreads Firstreads program.

(This review can also be found on my blog The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl).

I love Dawn French! I think she is such a funny woman!! I was so happy to have won a copy of her fiction book entitled Oh Dear Silvia from Goodreads. However, once I started reading the book, it became apparent that I wasn't going to enjoy it.

Silvia is in a coma after falling from a balcony and hitting her head. Throughout her
...more
Sarah Beth
I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from HarperCollins.

I found this book disappointing and fairly absurd. Silvia Shute has fallen from a balcony and lies in a coma. She is visited by Ed, her ex-husband, Jo, her older sister, Winnie, her West Indian nurse, Tia, her housekeeper, Cat, her lover and "friend," and Cassie, her estranged daughter. All of the visitors, with the exception of her nurse who never knew her and her housekeeper, Silvia seems universally disliked. Her children hate
...more
Aishie
Feb 08, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2014-reads
It's 20past 5 in the morning, and I have a serious dose of insomnia which I was hoping this book could kill off (sorry Dawn!), but sleep still eludes me. So perhaps writing about it might help the insomnia.

I received this book as a present, and there's a quirk in me that can't let any book in my possession go unread. No matter how boring and unsatisfying it may be. Don't get me wrong-black comedy and humour is rightly up my alley, and I've been known to enjoy an episode or 6 of 'The Vicar of
...more
Paul E. Morph
I have a stinking head cold so I’ll keep this brief.

This book is amazingly good. The concept is original, the structure is flawless, the characters are all fully realised, the dialogue is very human and real, the plot twists are genuinely shocking, the funny sections are really funny and the sad bits had me weeping openly in my car on the way to and from work.

Dawn French’s first novel ‘A Tiny Bit Marvellous’ was really good but this second novel is incredible. I can honestly say it’s one of the
...more
Pink
Mar 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
Oh Dear indeed. It's sort of like Gone Girl, for OAPs who like Richard and Judy, or Alan Titchmarsh. Badly written, unbelievable plot, intensely irritating and most definitely not a 'hilarious' or 'side splitting, darkly humorous' read as the quotes say on the front of the book. Who even writes these reviews? They must be Dawn French fans and so am I, but her books are bestsellers because of her name, not her writing talent.
Alan
Feb 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lady-writer
A moving story, though not without it's flaws... "Oh Dear Silvia" improves upon acquaintance. The early chapters can be fairly dull, but the novel gradually picks up speed and I read the second half in one bleary-eyed, sniffly sitting.

I found the blurb misleading. I was expecting something like an in-depth analysis of Sylvia Schute from a variety of angles, but for the most part the novel is far more concerned with everybody else. The fact of the matter is that the lady in the coma has
...more
Katy
Nov 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Thanks, Goodreads, for the book - won it in the giveaway.

I had mixed views about the book initially. I got on with it much better than I normally would a book where I don't really identify with, or like, the characters appearing early on, but a lot of them were very cariacatured (Tia especially), which grated for a while. After about a third of the way through, though, I was hooked. The writing grew increasingly powerful as the story developed, and the ending was much more moving, and much
...more
Simone Perren
Before I start critically reviewing this book, I wanted to first express my love for Dawn French. I think she is a fantastic person with a wonderful personality and brilliant comedic timing. I have previously read her autobiography, Dear Fatty as well as her first fictional novel, A Tiny Bit Marvellous, both of which I loved and gave 5 stars without question. This book was pitched as 'if you liked the previous books, you'll love Oh Dear Silvia'. Unfortunately this wasn't the case for me.
I really
...more
Megan
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book had such a great hook, that once I started it, I could not put it down! I know that Dawn French is a great comic and speaker, but I wasn't aware she could write as well! The use of a silent central character was an inspired choice, as all action revolves around her and the choices that have led to this point are revealed piece by piece throughout the novel. Having the climax occur in the middle of the book, that had been slowly revealed up until that point was surprising, as although ...more
Stephanie Forster
Dawn French is a person that almost everyone knows and a person who a lot of people love, simply for her ability to make you laugh. I've not read anything that has been written by her before, but I have wanted to. When I read the blurb for Oh Dear Silvia, I immediately picked it up and started reading.

I love the idea behind this book - The whole book takes place in Coma Suite 5, where Silvia, a friend, lover and mother lies in a coma. The story is told through several people - her ex-husband
...more
Kelly
Feb 15, 2013 rated it did not like it
I started this book with little expectation regarding the execution but with high hopes. I knew that the novel was supposed to be quite morbid but I imagined that with Dawn French behind the keyboard, there was sure to be level of humour, and in this I suppose I wasn't wrong.
Though there was the underlying sense of morality there was a level of humour through the events that occured within Suite 5. Unfortunately I just felt it was all too forced.

Basically, Silvia Shute is in a coma and her life
...more
Kathryn
This was different to what I was expecting. It was more serious than I expected it to be (given its author). I didn’t like many of the characters apart from Winnie and Cassie (and Willow), but it was interesting to read how their stories interacted as they talked with Silvia - their friend, ex-wife, employer, mother and patient - who was in intensive care in a coma. We saw Silvia through their eyes and she was revealed as more complex than she initially appeared. It was quite and easy read, but ...more
Mary Grand
May 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this a lot, good characters and story. Much much better than According to Yes by the same author. good bit in the middle picks it all up, yes, an enjoyable read
Ruth
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Read & Reviewed for http://www.thebookbag.co.uk

When Dawn French wrote her first novel [[A Tiny Bit Marvellous by Dawn French]] I was eager to read it, looking forward to plenty of silly humour and those elusive-when-reading out loud laughs. I was disappointed unfortunately, and actually came away from the book feeling annoyed with the characters and quite discouraged and depressed somehow. So, I approached her new novel with a little trepidation, unsure as to whether she deserved a second
...more
Lainy
Jun 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time taken to read - Over 2 days

Publisher - Penguin

Pages - 342

Source - The Works

Blurb from Goodreads

Who is in Coma Suite Number 5?

A matchless lover? A supreme egotist? A selfless martyr? A bad mother? A cherished sister? A selfish wife?

All of these. For this is Silvia Shute who has always done exactly what she wants. Until now, when her life suddenly, shockingly stops.

Her past holds a dark and terrible secret, and now that she is unconscious in a hospital bed, her constant stream of visitors
...more
Linda
Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
After having read "A tiny bit marvellous" - Dawn French's debut fictional novel - I had high hopes for Oh Dear Silvia, but I was also slightly apprehensive. There was something magical (in realistic terms) about "A Tiny Bit Marvellous" and I feared she wouldn't be able to live up to this. And indeed, this novel is very different from "A tiny bit marvellous"; so much so that you feel slightly confused in the beginning. Is it a comedy? Can you even laugh about this subject (yes, you can, to a ...more
Katy Noyes
Nov 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Reading this has increased the respect I hold for Dawn French. I never read her first book but was interested in story of her second.

I loved it. Having just finished, and thinking about the book as a whole, it is very assured and from one you might think is an experienced writer.

Each character talks to Silvia in her coma, their stories all seen from her hospital bed (including occasional clunky exposition but that can e forgiven). Silvia is not given a voice but the story is the stronger for it.
...more
Kirsty Wenn
Oct 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
I had a bit of trouble deciding on a star rating for this book. Some aspects I would rate very highly, and towards the end of the book, I was shouting internally that it couldn't possibly end satisfactorily (but it actually did, sort of, I think). Then, there were other aspects which really irritated me, such as the VERY OVERUSED dialect of Winnie. It's just so hard to read, and you really don't need that much of it to understand that the character has a thick Jamaican accent. We get it, ...more
Ian
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
I had high expectations of this as the Sunday Times reviewer said (towards the end of 2012) that it was the best book she had read all year. So I was rather disappointed with what for me was a long read (i.e. I kept putting the book down and forgetting about it).
Each chapter features a visitor to a coma patient and what we have is basically a series of inner monologues connected by third person narrative. There is an awful lot of padding and repetition and little in the way of plot development
...more
Clare
Oct 22, 2012 rated it did not like it
I won this book in a Goodread giveaway, and was really looking forward to reading it... I'm a big fan of Dawn French and have read a few of her previous books, so I expected this book to be as good as the rest, how wrong I was !.
I've tried for weeks to get into this book, but the going from character to character, never sticking to one train of thought, just made my head hurt.
There is some funny parts in this book that will make you laugh out loud, and the characters themselves are very
...more
Amy
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this! I couldn't tell you what genre this book is because i found it dark, funny, moving it was so much more than i was expecting after reading some of the mixed reviews. It starts slowly and the reader is introduced one by one to Sylvia's visitors ( Tia was a brilliant character to lift the mood of the book)and I wondered where exactly the plot was going, but right in the middle the book took a completely different direction and from then on i couldn't put this book down! I will not ...more
Carol
Nov 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
My first Dawn French read, and definitely the last. Populated by bizarre, extreme caricatures, it is difficult to have a shred of empathy with any of the characters as they visit Sylvia, their wife/mother/sister/lover/ patient/ employer who lies in an ITU in a coma. The style is clumsy, much of the narrative is overwritten and the attempts at using devices such as letters and dialect lack any subtlety. Difficult to grasp why some critics describe it as hilarious. Immature and clunky..yes; ...more
Leah
Jul 09, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
On finishing this book, my first thoughts we're thank god it's finished and what a disappointing ending, I found it incredibly slow and boring, very over written in places for what could have been a thoughtful story and heart warming ending,
Anne
Oct 20, 2012 rated it did not like it


Couldn't go past the end of chapter 2. Every other verb is underlined, in an effort to make me appreciate that I could be listening to it, as spoken by the vicar of dibley...I can read, I should be able to put a rhythm and intonation without feeling forced into it.
Not for me
Becca
Apr 03, 2013 rated it did not like it
It was boring and predictable. My overall opinion after reading this book was really "oh dear!" I was waiting for something brilliant to happen but it never did.
Lynn
Apr 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Enjoyable quick read with a blimmin satisfying ending which I really needed. French can really write characters dialogue very well. Would make a great tv film too...
Sue
Sep 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I had to abandon this book I couldn't read anymore childish humour!
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Dawn Roma French is a British actress, writer and comedian. In her career spanning three decades, she has been nominated for six BAFTA Awards and also won a Fellowship BAFTA along with her best friend Jennifer Saunders. She is best-known for starring in and writing her comedy sketch show, French and Saunders, alongside her comedy partner Jennifer Saunders, and for playing the lead role of ...more
“Two people occupying the same air. Nothing else in common. Just oxygen.” 4 likes
“She didn't know that I was dead inside, that I had ruled out the chance of joy ever again. Of that night and every other night to follow. I had fully settled into my unhappiness and wore it comfortably. So comfortably in fact, that it was barely perceptible to others. It just fitted me so well. My suit of misery hung happily on me. So happily that she assumed I could have "a lovely night" in it. The loveliness she referred to was so extremely far out of reach for me. It as far as... the bloody moon.” 1 likes
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