We owe it to each other to tell stories - Neil Gaiman

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Oh Dear Silvia - Dawn French

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 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 are set to uncover the mystery of her broken life. And she must lie there, victim of the beloveds, the borings, the babblings and the plain bonkers.

Like it or not, the truth is about to pay Silvia a visit. Again, and again, and again…

Title: Oh Dear Silvia

Author: Dawn French

Publisher: Penguin Books

Pages: 342

Date of Publication: 2012

Other notable titles from author: A Tiny Bit Marvellous, Dear Fatty

Source: Purchased at the 2013 Exclusive Books Warehouse Sale in Cape Town

The Review

I did not read the book jacket before I bought Oh Dear Silvia. I simply grabbed it as it was a book by Dawn French, who is one half of the French-Saunders comedy writing duo. It was purely on the basis of the name Dawn French that I bought Oh Dear Silvia. I do wonder if I would have bought it had I actually read the back cover - possibly not; probably not, as I was expecting a rather more comedic book than what we are presented with. I am glad though that I didn’t read the book jacket and just took the book – as I would have missed out on a book that I ended up enjoying a lot and made me take pause for introspection.


Oh Dear Silvia is a book written from various perspectives, it is through the eyes and experiences of others we are able to piece the puzzle together of who Silvia is. This is an incredible examination of the various relationships one person has with others and how it is so difficult to understand why we sometimes do things. The lengths we will go to protect and look after our loved ones. It is easy to see Silvia as the villain of the story, until we see the pieces of the puzzle put together and gain understanding, it is just sad that Silvia is not able to speak for herself.

Marvelously told and incredibly heart breaking, Oh Dear Silvia is the kind of story that we all need to read as there is often more to a person’s story than meets the eye.

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