Dear Fatty by Dawn French.
This is the first autobiography in my A-Z Book Challenge. I have enjoyed many of the Dawn French comedy series on television, e.g. The Vicar of Dibley, Jam and Jerusalem and I have also seen her interviewed about Dear Fatty so I was keen to read this book. She was interviewed by Andrew Denton on Enough Rope and there is a transcript of the interview here.
With a sharp eye for comic detail and a wicked ear for the absurdities of life, Dawn French shows just how an RAF girl from the West Country with dreams of becoming a ballerina/airhostess/bridesmaid, thief, rose to become one of the best-loved comedy actresses of our time.
The book takes the form of letters written to important people in her life, many of the letters being to her deceased father. Like the majority of people in the world, she has led a fairly ordinary life – if you can have an ordinary life as a celebrity. The First letter is addressed “Dear You”
‘Hello, I have decided to think of this book as memoir rather than an autobiography. As I understand it, the latter means that I have to be precise about chronology and touch on all aspects of my quite-dull-in-parts life. I think that would be quite dull because in quite a lot of parts my life has indeed been quite dull. You wouldn’t want to read about those bits, believe me. Those bits would mainly be about puddings I’ve enjoyed and when I’ve set the washing machine on the wrong cycle and my quest for comfortable shoes, and the time I put a gun in a kitten’s mouth. You don’t want to know about that ol’ faffle. So, I’ve decided instead to concentrate on those memories that are especially important or vivid to me. . . .Otherwise we’d be here all day.’
This memoir presents some hilarious and awkward moments from her life and we are also party to some of the heartbreak she has experienced but there was very little about the professional side of her life. I would have liked to learn more about her time with The Comic Strip and as The Vicar of Dibley. The book is more personal than I expected and I would have preferred more of her professional life detailed. I should have expected personal in an autobiography. What was I thinking?
I must admit that I was a little disappointed in this book. I think I was expecting more laughs when really I should have realised that she was going to be telling me about her life, not writing a script for a comedy show.