Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dear Fatty” as Want to Read:
Dear Fatty
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dear Fatty

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  9,475 ratings  ·  719 reviews
Dawn French is one of the greatest comedy actresses of our time, with a career spanning nearly three decades and encompassing a vast and brilliant array of characters that would eventually establish her as a national treasure.

She first appeared on the British entertainment scene as part of the groundbreaking alternative comedy group, the Comic Strip, which marked a radical
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 9th 2008 by Random House UK
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,475 ratings  ·  719 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Dear Fatty
Petra Kiss
Celebrity is about as far from what you see is what you get. It's what you see is photo-shopped, spin-doctored, tailored, sanitized sound bites and images that highly paid publicists have manufactured around the original person.

Celebrity memoirs often betray the fact that behind the image of the perfectly-groomed and stunningly witty celebrity is a rather ordinary person who, outside of what they are famous for, never did anything much that anyone else would be thrilled to pay money for and read
Danni Borde
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm sorry to see so many reviewers putting down this book. I agree its not storyline that will solve world hunger or cure cancer but that wasn't its intention in the first place. It was just a work of creative insight into the comedy and tragedy of one of the leading artists of our time. Its an easy pick up and put down book written as if one was chatting with a good mate. I thought it was a great summer read. Cheers to the laughter and the love of Ms. French. ...more
Jan 18, 2010 rated it did not like it
3 days before Christmas found me standing in Smiths, with zero inspiration, looking at the bestsellers shelves - and wondering why the hell I would want to read any of them. Katy Price, Jonathan Ross, Chris Evans...celebrity "auto" biographies... blah, blah blah. Then in post Christmas desperation I picked up Dear Fatty from the shelves at home...and half way through I was still wondering why I was bothering. Now, I like Dawn French, I love F&S and the Vicar of Dibley, she is very, very talented ...more
Oct 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I love watching Dawn French on TV and so I naturally had to have her book when it was released.

The book takes the less-used form of a collection of letters written to various people in her life. Through the letters she communicates her most prominent memories of experiences in her life.

Dawn definitely has a way with words. The writing flows well and it's made all the better by the fact that she's written it herself instead of having a ghost writer do it for her. The letters she writes manage to
Sophie Crane
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: film-tv, women-in-h-f
If you've ever watched the Vicar of Dibley and had a warm, fuzzy feeling, this is the book for you. I usually steer well clear of autobiographies but enjoyed this immensely (apart from the bizarre letters to Madonna). Dawn's warm personality and touching bonds with family shine through on every page. One chapter in particular is heart-wrenching and worth the read, I think, for anyone who has suffered the pain of the suicide of a loved one, as I have. All the questions, bewilderment and frustrati ...more
Apr 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
3.5*. I enjoyed this book written in the form of letters to various family and friends, starting from childhood to more recent times. Some parts were very well written, emotional and thought provoking. Sadly a few chapters were in my opinion poor, the letters to Madonna read like gibberish and added nothing at all to the story. I did not find a lot of humour in the book but I did find it interesting.
Sarah (needs a break from reviewing)
I read this for the 2016 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge (although I read it in 2017) prompt 'An Autobiography' ...more
I wouldn't consider myself a devout French follower - the extent of my familiarity comes from watching the occasional episode of The Vicar of Dibley with my parents growing up (which I did find hilarious). However, this memoir was funny and sincere. She's obviously had an interesting life - I mean being a comedian isn't your typical day job - but the parts I enjoyed most were when she talked about her relationships with the important people in her life. Great read. ...more
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this, I suppose I was sucked in by the title 'Dear Fatty' and assumed it was going to be more about her experience as a plus size woman in the public eye but sadly not. Fatty is actually her nickname for Jennifer Saunders and the whole book is laid out as a series of letters to various people. I really disliked this format because the friends/family are never properly introduced so I spent their entire letter trying to work out who they are, and there are also some addres ...more
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
This autobiography is very slight. In the first half Dawn reminisces about her grandmothers, her brother, her school friends. I was bored to pieces. Later it picks up as Dawn almost marries, and then loses a loved one. Toward the end we get a bit of her early friendship with Jennifer Saunders and their time in The Comic Strip. A bit of Lenny Henry and issues surrounding race in Britain. She says a lot of nice things to her husband but they were probably seriously talking about divorce when she t ...more
Oct 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: humour, biography
Dear Dawn French. I enjoyed my first exposure to your writing style in Dear Fatty. Note how witty I am by employing your technique for the start of each chapter. (For those that haven't read the book, each chapter starts Dear 'Someone' as you address your thoughts to a family member or dear friend) I was introduced to Dawn by my wife, who is from England. We have enjoyed so much of your humour and acting; French and Saunders, The Vicar of Dibbly, your acting in Lark Rise to Candleford, etc.
So I
Aug 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of UK comedy and general autobiography.
Recommended to Jules by: the bookshelves in Tesco!
I enjoyed reading this book and, as autobiographies go, found that in the end I had gained in my knowledge about the witty and rather gregarious lady that is Dawn French. I liked the style of writing in the book, however edited, and French does go into some detail about various aspects and stages of her life. Moments of the book are laugh out loud funny but moreover the book is sensitive and nostalgic about subjects such as childhood, school, friends, (and especially) family, etc. You do get the ...more
Louise (A Strong Belief in Wicker)
I've recently started to listen to audiobooks in the car on my short commute to work. And I'm really enjoying them. This was my second one. I was initially disappointed that Dawn wasn't reading it herself, but she does a short section at the beginning saying she felt some of it too personal and difficult to have attempted to read herself. Ok, fair enough. She enlisted a friend, Liza Tarbuck, to do the reading, and she does a great job. Liza sounds quite a bit like Dawn actually. The book is writ ...more
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being a fairly young fan, I'm one of those who became exposed to the brilliance of Dawn French through "The Vicar of Dibley." The life of a comedian may seem glamorous and, with the way Dawn wears it to the public eye, it certainly seems to be. As with most things, this is a slightly different story behind closed doors. One thing I admire most about her is her ability to move on from hardships in her life. Dawn has adopted the "Yes, it happened but I'm not going to waste my life dwelling on it" ...more
A lot of this memoir is bittersweet, as a large chunk of it is written to her father whom she tragically lost when she was only 19. The bits in between are interesting though not necessarily funny. I only laughed out loud twice, which I thought was surprisingly seldom for such a funny gal. Oh well, like I said Dawn has had a pretty darn interesting life, full of people and I really admire her self-confidence and upbeat attitude.

Pros: Her voice really shines through the writing and the inclusion
Sep 05, 2011 rated it liked it
I liked this book. I just didn't love it as much as I wanted to or expected I would. French really is a very funny woman. As someone who always loved French and Saunders, it was interesting to read how her career developed. There are some wonderful passages in the book. Some of it, though, was a bit long and even a tad boring. I also can't say I really understand the author more now than I did prior to reading the book. With the exception of a few letters, it all felt a bit on the shallow side, ...more
Deborah Jelinek-Lloyd
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Concentrating on memories that she finds important and vivid Dawn French uses the unusual technique of telling her life story in letters to assorted correspondents, living and dead. Endearingly, the first letter begins 'Dear You' and goes on to explain how she has decided to approach the writing of the book.

It is humorous where humour is called for but what makes the book so good, in my reading, is her ability to eloquently and appropriately convey the full range of emotion when dealing with the
May 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I went into this book not knowing much about Dawn French apart from the odd comedy I had seen her in.
But from this collection of letter or epistolary style memoirs addressed, each sort of chapter or letter to family members or friends you learn a lot about the lady behind the comedy.
Very close to her family with a huge well of love for those close to her we hear of her childhood, growing up, teenage years, relationships, friendships, school, her work and early jobs right upto the more personal s
David Edmonds
Aug 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
Dawn French (one half of the British comedy duo, French and Saunders) may be one of the funniest women alive today. The other funniest woman alive today is Jennifer Saunders, the other half of French and Saunders. For those not familiar with either, they have had a successful run at BBC with their variety show, French and Saunders; Dawn French may be best known for her role in The Vicar of Dibley; Jennifer Saunders is probably best know for her role as Edina in Absolutely Fabulous; both have als ...more
Aug 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Dawn French Fans
Shelves: memoir
In this epistolary memoir, Dawn French writes to her loved ones in turn, sharing stories from her life and telling each person what they have meant to her. She also imparts sage advice for those following in her path.

These letters range from the sublime (every letter to her late father), to the hilarious (the letter to the families for whom she babysat during her college days) to the frankly silly and pointless (lame jokes in letter form to her comedy partner, Jennifer Saunders; pointless aside
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Having just recently read Dawn French's first foray into fiction, A Tiny Bit Marvellous I picked up this memoir by the comedienne when it caught my eye at the library despite usually avoiding celebrity biographies.
Dear Fatty is presented as a series of letters ostensibly directed at the significant people in Dawn French's life including her father who committed suicide when she was nineteen, her best friend and comedy partner "Fatty" also known as Jennifer Saunders, and her (now ex) husband Lenn
Jul 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
DEAR FATTY was a great read. Sadder than I thought it would be - quite heart-wrenching at times, even - but the comic relief is refreshingly present throughout.
The letter style is a good way to get into Dawn's psyche and see the way she communicates and deals with life's ups and downs. Although this rare format is probably contrived, I felt it let me get to know Dawn French better than the typical biography account of her life thus far.
The "Fatty" in question is her close friend and comedy col
Adele McVay
Jan 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Any Dawn French fans
I really enjoyed this book. Dawn writes her autobiography in the form of letters to friends and family, live and deceased. She shares memories, gives thanks, they are witty and heartbreaking in places. It isn't a side splittingly funny book, but it's not supposed to be. I was amazed at how much she's been through and how she's managed to channel her experiences in such a positive way - she's an inspiration. I've always been a huge fan of French and Saunders, especially their movie parodies, thei ...more
Apr 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Dawn French is such a delightful character, and most of her book is a delight. The pity is that there is just too much of it.

While for the most part the book is witty and entertaining - which of course a life cannot always be - there are times when the letters begin to ramble, to just simply bang on too much, or even to become a tad maudlin. When you are 50 or so pages from finishing a book and you just wish that it would hurry up and end, or get to the punchline, then you know the editor hasn'
Sean Randall
Feb 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Not being one of Dawn's contemporaries in either age or fame, I can't say that I really "got" a lot of this book. So much of it was raw and inside and personal that I felt, at times, a little as though I were reading very private diary entries rather than letters fit for the whole world to read. I laughed in spots (the panto at the end was very amusing), shed a tear (mostly during letters to Nick and her dad) and generally found myself feeling impressed at this lady's fortitude and power, as she ...more
Written as a series of letters, "Dear Fatty" is Dawn French's memoir. It was quite unlike anything I expected.

I was looking forward to hours of laughter and I certainly laughed out loud. But there were also some heart-breaking moments in the book that had me in tears.

"My life has been, and continues to be, about an abundance of people." I enjoyed looking at the photos and putting faces to the names in the book.

This memoir was an insight into her life, and it was a book that, when I finished the
Jun 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this book has gotten some mixed reviews but for me personally I really enjoyed it!

I have always been a fan of Dawn French since I saw her on various TV shows through the years BUT I never knew much about her. Her style of letter writing to various people was quite amusing, different personas she'd take on while laying them out for you to read/view. It was like taking a personal peep into snail mail being sent between friends (or many different friends).

Worth a read if you do like Dawn F
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I thought that Dawn French was hilarious, amazing, wonderful, fabulous and a bunch of other lovely adjectives before I read this book. Now I love her more. It was quite funny but so much more. She talks about her life with such honesty, there were times when I thought, "This is really personal, I shouldn't be reading this."
If you are a fan of Dawn French you should read this. If you aren't a fan of Dawn French, there is something wrong with you. If you don't know who Dawn French is... Omg! Watc
Walter Van praag
Dec 31, 2013 rated it liked it
I must say overall I enjoyed Dawn's book. It is a very private memoir of her life really, and shows her to be human just like us. Dawn obviously has a much better memory than I as she remembers loads of details and especially names from her past. Towards the end I started losing interest in the name dropping (of apparently famous people) and her writing style, but heck, she is an actor, a comic and not a literary genius. Reading Dawn's book was overall interesting and funny, and made me watch so ...more
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another friend recommendation and from someone rather cool. I was bought tickets to Dawn's show recently and was suggested that I read 'Dear Fatty'. In fact the guy bought me the book as well.

Letters to her family, her friends, acquaintances...and Madonna. Hilarity ensues mixed in with tales of tragedy and loss. One thing for sure is that Ms. French does not hold back on her life stories. In fact, the vulnerability that one feels when reading her confessions on weight, racism and death is very
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Bonkers: My Life in Laughs
  • Look Who It Is!: My Story
  • That's Another Story: The Autobiography
  • Is It Just Me?
  • The Sound of Laughter
  • Look Back in Hunger
  • Peggy and Me
  • Camp David
  • Life & Laughing: My Story
  • Billy Connolly
  • Absolutely
  • Spectacles
  • The Life and Loves of a He Devil
  • At My Mother's Knee...: and other low joints
  • Ooh! What a Lovely Pair: Our Story
  • No Shame
  • Through Thick and Thin: My Autobiography
  • David Jason: My Life
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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 Geraldin ...more

News & Interviews

If you've got an overflowing Want to Read shelf of books that you keep meaning to get to (one day!), you're in good company. Our company, that...
126 likes · 46 comments
“My theory was that if I behaved like a confident, cheerful person, eventually I would buy it myself, and become that. I always had traces of strength somewhere inside me, it wasn't fake, it was just a way of summoning my courage to the fore and not letting any creeping self-doubt hinder my adventures. This method worked then, and it works now. I tell myself that I am the sort of person who can open a one-woman play in the West End, so I do. I am the sort of person who has several companies, so I do. I am the sort of person WHO WRITES A BOOK! So I do. It's the process of having faith in the self you don't quite know you are yet, if you see what I mean. Believing that you will find the strength, the means somehow, and trusting in that, although your legs are like jelly. You can still walk on them and you will find the bones as you walk. Yes, that's it. The further I walk, the stronger I become. So unlike the real lived life, where the further you walk, the more your hips hurt.” 57 likes
“That’s the key, you know, confidence. I know for a fact that if you genuinely like your body, so can others. It doesn’t really matter if it’s short, tall, fat or thin, it just matters that you can find some things to like about it. Even if that means having a good laugh at the bits of it that wobble independently, occasionally, that’s all right. It might take you a while to believe me on this one, lots of people don’t because they seem to suffer from self-hatred that precludes them from imagining that a big woman could ever love herself because they don’t. But I do. I know what I’ve got is a bit strange and difficult to love but those are the very aspects that I love the most! It’s a bit like people. I’ve never been particularly attracted to the uniform of conventional beauty. I’m always a bit suspicious of people who feel compelled to conform. I personally like the adventure of difference. And what’s beauty, anyway?” 12 likes
More quotes…