Sunday, November 29, 2009

Funny Lady

By Dawn French

Are most Americans familiar with Dawn French? 'The Vicar of Dibley'? 'French and Saunders'? Well if you aren't, you are missing out on one funny lady! Around the age of 12 my mom met and married a Brit and from then on I was exposed to much of British culture, and then I went on to study in London for a semester in college which is one of the most memorable experiences of my life. One of the funniest ladies of British comedy in my opinion was always Dawn French (the other being Jennifer Saunders!). So when I heard that she had an autobiography coming out I knew that I'd want to read it because it would most definitely be a hoot!

'Dear Fatty' is not your typical autobiography in that it is written in the form of letters to all of the people that made a difference to French. In this respect it makes it seem very personal. She can be more reflective and not just tell you what happened but write to a particular person: dad, mom, best friend, husband, daughter, telling them what happened, what her thoughts were and how she hopes they take it's meaning. In this respect it was often poignant. Much of her life is funny, much of her life is sad. Whose isn't?

French grows up in an RAF family so they are moved around constantly. We learn how she adapts. Much of the book is written to her father whom French loved dearly. When French is about to go off to college he commits suicide and you learn how she and her family deal with that. You learn how she goes through teenage loves and ultimately meets her husband of 20+ years, Len Henry, another famous British comedian, whom they have a daughter together.

Fatty, to whom the story is to, is Jennifer Saunders, her partner in comedic crime. The book is interspersed with funny jokes written to 'Dear Fatty.' There are also great lists wherein she tallies all the great kissers she's kissed including George Clooney! My favorite list was to all of those she babysat for saying all of the things she did while babysitting. I was laughing out loud because I definitely did that as well!

Ultimately this is a memoir of someone who is famous but is human and very relate-able. Highly recommended. You will laugh out loud and you will find it very sweet.

(I got this book from


  1. My mother, sister and I watched her Vicar series earlier this year. It is pure comic favorite episodes being the Easter bunny one and the one where she eats all the Christmas feasts. I have been meaning to pick up Dear Fatty and have paged through copies at the bookstore but another read always comes up. Thank you for reminding me about it and I am going to aim to read it before the end of the year.

  2. Isn't it a great book? I'm also an American who fell in love with French and Saunders and all of their respective shows. I got the chance to meet them both this summer and they are just as lovely and warm in person as you might expect. (And Dawn is very cuddly!)

  3. I'm looking forward to reading this one, too. I'm sure Dawn has had her share of difficulties, but she gives the impression of being such an upbeat personality.


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