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A Tiny Bit Marvellous

3.21  ·  Rating details ·  7,329 Ratings  ·  998 Reviews
Everyone hates the perfect family. So you'll love the Battles. Mo is about to hit the big 50, and some uncomfortable truths are becoming quite apparent: She doesn't understand either of her teenage kids, which as a child psychologist, is fairly embarrassing. She has become entirely grey. Inside, and out. Her face has surrendered and is frightening children. Dora is about t ...more
Paperback, 323 pages
Published October 15th 2010 by Penguin (first published 2010)
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EmmaMarie Hunneyball
Oh my actual God, this is like, so the worst book I have ever read? and the publishers should, like, totally of been done for false advertising for that title? Cos it's like, not a tiny bit marvellous. It's like, total wonk? And stuff?

If reading that paragraph set your teeth on edge then I recommend you steer well clear of Dawn French's debut novel. It's a tepid journey through a series of dull events narrated by one-dimensional characters and finished with a "twist" which is about as subtle as
Megan Baxter
English family life in the key of shrill.


This book seems to take as its premise that not only are teenagers constantly (and I mean constantly) at a fever pitch of screaming and hating their parents, but also that that emotional lability (screw you, Goodreads, that is too a word) and immaturity and utter lack of self-awareness continues through everyone's entire lives.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I
Aug 07, 2011 rated it liked it
As a big fan of Dawn French, I wanted to see if her writing was as good as her performances, and in many ways I wasn't disappointed. The story follows certain events in the lives of Mo, who is about to turn 50 and hovering on the edges of an extra-marital affair with a younger man, her husband whose inner self we see little of as, well he's just 'Dad', then there is Dora, a foul mouthed, self-obsessed seventeen-going-on-thirty-year-old and her divinely camp-over-the-top brother with a kind heart ...more
May 30, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I still don't understand how a book can be a 'No1 Besteller' before it has even been published and placed on shelves. There are so many No1 Bestsellers that you would thing people would call it a draw. In any case, I have not clue as to why this book managed to become one of the 'No1's'. It is ridiculous. At first I assumed that it was just hard to get into, like some books are. But there was nothing to 'get into'. I didn't manage to read the whole thing, because I just couldn't cope with the ex ...more
Eddie Owens
Jul 03, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Rayment
The Good Stuff

Bloody hilarious and witty at times. You gotta love the English, they have such a way with words
Oscar and Pam were my favorite characters. Would have liked to have some of book written from Pam's voice
Some lovely wise and very real moments about living with ones family
The sheer audacity of Mo's inner dialogue is wonderful
Made me LMAO on many occasions -- note to self mus learn to stop snorting out loud in public places -- people tend to stare
The scene between Dora and her grandma P
Huw Rhys
Jan 16, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dawn French is one of the very best TV Comedy writers of her generation. I love her TV work to bits. But sadly, transferring her skills to this format just doesn't work.

This is the story of...what exactly? Nothing much happens for the first two thirds of the book - mum goes through a mid life crisis, whilst her 18 year old daughter and 16 year old son try to share their growing up experiences with us. And although the book livened up ever so slightly in the final third, nothing changed much.

Jan 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jessie by: Karen AKA Mum
‘A Tiny Bit Marvellous’
Dawn French

This book is the ideal ‘bed time reading’ novel. It’s easy, effortless and straightforward to read. At the moment I have exams so my days are filled with huge amounts of revision and this book gave me an easy escape.
My mum actually got this as a gift for her birthday; she read it, liked it and gave it to me to have a read. At the start, I was apprehensive about such a book. I assumed (and was probably right) that the novel was aimed at a more mature age group
Christine Blachford
I do quite love Dawn French, so I really thought this was going to be a great book to read. Perhaps I went into it expecting too much. I know I had waited far too long to read it because I refused to pay the £10 price tag for a Kindle book. It was reduced in price recently, and I snapped it up, and got reading.

It's really not that great at all. Told by means of three distinct voices, writing in their own diaries - a rather depressing mother, a supremely irritating teenage daughter, and a slightl
Simon Howard
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 characte
Shirley Schwartz
Nov 25, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this book in order to review it for a publisher, but I couldn't finish it. I got within 100 pages of the end and I had to shut it and put it out of my mind.
I am not usually interested in books in the comedy genre, although I do enjoy human interest stories. Well this book was far from human interest. i couldn't stand the people and please-Dora is almost 18? She acts more like 12. I'm all for showing human foibles and family missteps, but this book went far beyond what I sincerely
Mar 25, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: d-n-f
Like, an enormous bit dreadful, like.
Sandra Bašić
Apr 27, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ubuduće više neću uzimati knjige na čijim koricama piše "urnebesno smiješno". Ovog puta to kaže Sunday Times, a obično ne zaostaju za time ni New York Times i ostale "papirnate kuće". Ovdje nisam našla ni mrvicu nečega da mi usne završe bar u nekom iskrivljenom smješku. Ne samo da predmetna obitelj Battle nije savršena, prikazana je takvom da u njoj baš ništa ne štima. Dva tinejdžera od 17 i 16 godina se čude što baka još uvijek zemljom hoda, a za mamu (dječjeg psihologa) je ionako najbolje da c ...more
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book for £3.99 on my Kindle.

I love Dawn French anyway and had heard the great reviews, so I just knew I was going to love it, and I did. I devoured it in 2 days, could not put it down.
It is done in the style of a diary entry type book, but with no dates, just different chapters for each member of the household. Mo is a mother of 2, wife and child psychologist who is struggling with her own issues and errant teenagers!

Dora is a struggling teenager with the typical body issues and fe
Mar 20, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Full disclosure: I didn't even finish this book. So it might bet better towards the end, but I skipped ahead quite a bit to see if it improves, and it doesn't. So. The book is written entirely in first person, and each chapter is titled after the name and age of the person narrating. That'd be fine, if everyone in it wasn't a giant prat. The daughter swears every other word, hates her mother, and in general is just a chav. The son has an ego bigger than necessary. The mom thinks she's better tha ...more
Simon Lipson
I've loved Dawn French the writer/performer for 30 years, but Dawn French the novelist is just ghastly, if this is anything to go by. A family of non-dimensional characters spouting about their boring, middle-class lives with nary a sentence that isn't boiling with cliches. I ran out of patience very early, I must confess, I think after I'd read the third chapter in the voice of the vacuous teenage daughter. Yes, we know teenage girls overuse 'like' and we've seen shallowness and mother-hating ( ...more
Amy Jones
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I was about 50 pages in, I hated this book.

It's written in a diary style, from the point of view of (mainly) three characters. There's Mo, the tired child psychiatrist mother, Dora, the Facebook obsessed 17 year old, and Peter, the precocious 16 year old obsessed with Oscar Wilde.

The reason I hated the book was the "voice" of Dora. Just a small example, near the beginning of the book Dora writes:

"I can't believe I actually went out with him, how embarrassing. On top of it all, he is so ran
Mar 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
I chose this book to take with me on holiday for the simple reasons that I wanted something light and humerous to read and that as a fan of Dawn French's comedic talent I was interested to see if this would extend to her writing. I am very pleased to say that the answer is yes! The novel follows the lives of a modern family; Mo who is about to turn 50; her husband, who as far as I can recall is just refered to by the other characters as Husband or Dad, so we never learn his name; daughter,Dora w ...more
Nikki Bywater
Sep 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mo Battle is about to turn the big 50 and she is having a mid-life panic. She is fed up with her life that is the same, day in day out, she is a wife and mother to two teenagers, Dora who is seventeen and has self-esteem problems and holds her mum responsible for everything going wrong in her life and Peter who truly believes he is Oscar Wilde, his hero. Mo’s husband is not saying much and is keeping very quiet.

Mo is prepared to do something completely different to bring change to her dull life
Jan 25, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I felt this book didn't have much depth to it. The characters were bland, uninteresting and weren't explored enough making it difficult to empathize with any of them.
The storyline was in complete disarray; the storyline leading up to the 'climatic' moments were not introduced into the novel until past midway. So what was the point of the first half of the novel? I asked myself that same question as I was reading it.
I felt completely agitated whilst reading the excerpts from Dora. Yes Dawn French
Oct 27, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Completely unrealistic. Irritating, clichéd characters and narrative voices. Ridiculous situations. And it is not even remotely funny. I may have smiled once or twice, possibly, against my will. The teenage daughter is written in Vicky Pollard's voice and is tediously hateful and self-loathing. The son is tiresomely, unconvincingly verbose and obnoxious. The mother is an idiot. The plot makes little sense when subjected to any scrutiny and there are deeply dubious actions and attitudes which we ...more
Ellen Fredriksson
Definitely my new favourite book! I loved it! Dawn French is not only brilliant comedian but also a marvellous author! What an intense book, with infuriating characters that I though I could never love until I did! I cannot recommend this book enough!!
A so-so read. Some parts resonated with me, others grated on me. It wasn't a particularly amusing read and sadly quite predictable but it was good airport fodder on a longish transit wait if you don't mind a 'car crash waiting to happen' kind of plot. Sorry Dawn, I love your work but this just didn't do it for me.
Nov 27, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Although I've left Israel, I hope to continue participating as a member of my beloved Jerusalem-based book club thanks to the blessings of technology. Only one of them is on goodreads so Randi, if you're reading this, I'll try to be a little nicer in the meeting but here I'm going to be brutally honest. This book was crap.

The story is about a family -- Dad, who remains voiceless and nameless until the final scenes, Mom/Mo, a surprisingly uninsightful child psychologist, Dora, her 17-year-old dit
Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Die Familie Battle hat ein großes Problem - Sie können einander nicht leiden!
Dora, die Teenage-Tochter träumt davon endlich volljährig zu werden und bei X Factor aufzutreten. Ihr Bruder Peter, der sich selbst nur Oscar nennt, ist ganz anders als seine Schwester. Über ihn ist der Geist von Oscar Wilde gekommen und nun gibt er sich wie ein Dandy. Mo, die Mutter der Familie, ist vollkommen ausgelaugt. Der graue Alltag hat sie so sehr aufgesogen, dass kein Farbklecks mehr übrig blieb, an dem sie si
Mar 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I genuinely thought I won't like it. But I really do. This is a "light book", perfect for evenings when you just want to relax. I really enjoyed it. It made me happy, I laughed like an idiot, smiled and even had sad moments. I couldn't stop turning the pages!
Matt Shiells-Jones
this book was fantastic. Plenty of humour and written as diary entries from various family members - each character really comes to life as the writing style changes between diary entries and characters. from the professional, well spoken and well-versed mother who slowly becomes a quivering wreck of stupidity but has to carry on as normal - a bit of british stiff upper lip comes in to the equation; the daughter who is a typical comical teenager where what to wear to a party is more important th ...more
Loved it..loved it...loved it! From the first page, Dawn French had me in stitches. I could hear her voice narrating the story so clearly and she has the voices of all the characters exactly right. The story told in turns by Mo, Dora and Peter (Oscar) relates the events of the course of a few weeks as they all are in the cusp of a change in their lives. Mo is about to turn 50 and no longer recognises the older woman in the mirror, Dora is about to finish school, turn 18, has no real direction in ...more
Jul 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.

This book had a slow start, but once the story got going it became clear why the slow introductions of the characters was needed; the emotional twists and turns would not have worked without the connection you had with the characters.
Unlike anything else I have read, it was on a diary format which worked well to add comedy to the novel and give it an anecdotal theme at times with a larger overriding plot.
Enjoyed this book a lot, and again I am glad to have read something completely dif
Lisa Bennett
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I bought this book because it's by Dawn French, whom I love, and the title made it sound like it could well be a tiny bit marvellous.

However, it was a very bit boring!

The mum ws ok, the daughter was funny at times, the son drove me mad and bored me to tears. The story was dull and I just couldn't get into it. The only good bit was the ending, because A) it was the ending, and B) because of the twist, which after such a boring read, was totally so like unpredictable.

One for the charity shop.

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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 Geraldin ...more
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“Funny how women are ashamed of their inner fairy whereas men are forever proudly displaying their inner cowboy or fireman” 29 likes
“There is a latent fairy in all women, but look how carefully we have to secrete her in order to be taken seriously. And fairies come in all shapes, colours, sizes and types, they don't have to be fluffy. They can be demanding and furious if hey like. They do, however, have to wear a tiara. That much is compulsory.” 25 likes
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