Book Review: A Tiny Bit Marvellous

Book: A Tiny Bit Marvellous

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Author: Dawn French

Cover Critique:

The cover can be described in three words:

I love it! Who wouldn’t love a tiny little dog on the cover?


The title of the book caught my attention when I was browsing through Tesco store while on a holiday in Cornwall few days back. I was tempted to get a hint of the story and started reading first chapter right there, it instantly grabbed me and I bought it to accompany me on the beach. I am happy to say that I was not disappointed. It was so brilliantly written that I read it whenever and wherever I could, put it in my handbag, read it on beach, late night in my hotel room, kept me so engaged that my husband got irritated *laughs*. So here is the story:

Dora is a teenager about to turn 18 and she has a younger brother named Peter (who likes to call himself Oscar – well, he has his reasons). There is Mo Battle, 50 year old mother to these two very hot-tempered teenagers. Mo has got her own problems- she is reaching menopause age and constantly worries about her family, career, more or less about – everything! Dora is always at war with Mo and blames her for everything that goes wrong in her life. She writes “like” about each and every torture inflicted upon her by her mom (according to her) in her diary which I (as a reader) got a sneak peek into. Look what she has written:

“My mother is like a totally confirmed A-list bloody cocking mingling arsehole cretin cockhead of the highest order.” 

Now you know what I am talking about. A typical teenager with all those jumping hormones trying to get out and she has got major problems like getting laid by some handsome dude and lose her virginity, get her belly pierced, audition as a singer for X-Factor show, get some hot pictures of her on Facebook profile and some more crazy stuff. She has some real crises too, like how to pass university exam.

The author depicts her character in such a way that it makes you laugh while noticing her acute observations of teenagers and their changing roles in the family. Sometimes, you want to scream at Dora for being so annoying and frustrating and suddenly you want to give her some space and remember how you felt when you were going through this awkward phase of your life.

We also get a slice of Mo’s mind through her diary. While she is so right in guiding her daughter and stopping her from acting foolishly in front of others, she herself gets overdramatic at times and is unable to handle Dora tactfully. Ironically, she is a child psychologist by profession. The mother-daughter relationship gets complicated to the extreme and needs someone mature from the family who could fix this glitch. Did I mention Dora’s father? His role is in the background till the story takes a sharp turn and reaches its climax.

There is Peter who thinks he is Oscar Wilde and gets infatuated by older men. It is so humorous to read his interpretations of his sister, Dora and his mother, Mo as well as his lovesick poems about Noel (a middle-aged man). So, we get multiple viewpoints and angles which make this book unputdowntable. There is also a sugary sweet character of Dora’s grandmother, Pamela who likes to bake cakes for everyone and ‘listens’ to their problems with a smile on her face. There is also a dog named “Poo” (yes, I know you guys are laughing on “Poo”) who gets the affection of both arch- enemies Dora and Mo.

The author keeps the reader thoroughly absorbed in the interesting characters with contrasting personalities. This book is like a case-study on dysfunctional British family on the verge of collapsing. Read the book to find out what makes them stick together and who turns out to be the real binding force in the family. The book is a page-turner because of its dark humour, fast-paced chapters, genuine characters and intriguing situations.

The book showcases the distinctive style of the author – her clever wit, sharp observations on family structure and the changing role of modern families in Britain. I think all of us can relate to it, considering we all belong to families – each crazy in their own way but equally special. Highly recommended book because it is a lot more than just a “tiny bit” marvellous!

Review Girl Rating: 10/10

To buy this book on Amazon, click here. 

About the Author:

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 Geraldine Granger in the sitcom The Vicar of Dibley. “A Tiny Bit Marvellous” is her first novel. 


  1. It sounds hilariously witty. I love reading about teen drama. SO fun. Maybe that's why I'm addicted to "Glee." :0)

  2. I love Dawn French :)

  3. @Elisa: "Glee" is such a fun show. You will love this book then.

    @Sam: Now, me too!:) Her biography is on my wishlist now.

  4. This is definitely a book someone would of had to tell me about, the book cover is a pass by for me. sounds pretty good and somewhat humorous.

  5. Sounds great! I'll have to pick it up. I live up the river from Cornwal. Love that place...but Beacon aint bad. :)

  6. @Sidne: It is more satirical than plain humorous..if you like novels with literary touch, this is a good pick.

    @Elisabeth Kinsey: All the beaches in Cornwall are extremely beautiful, I am sure Beacon would be great too. Thanks for enjoying my review..lemme know how did you find the book.

  7. It sounds SO good! Great review! I love the cover too.

  8. I think Komal u hv introduced this time very interesting piece of literature. Me too hv two childern one son n one daughter n like every one I too faced some problems in upbringing my childern. But they often had intimate terms with each other. Some times they do quarrel with each other but one couldnt live without the other. Anyways I sure will enjoy the reading. But I dun like the extremely simple title.

  9. @Juju: Thanks for the great feedback!:)

    @ankhseojhal: Hey, you are back!! I was missing your comments on my posts. Yes, I agree sibling relationship is like that, but it gets mature as the kids grow-up. Real families come together in time of crises and that shows the bonding and love they share. Happy reading!:)

  10. Great review, i love the book cover for this one too :) May just go pick this one up.


  11. @Kris: Thanks for loving my review!:) Hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I did.

  12. i would for sure read this book after such a high rating..

    I've created a new girls blog with the name She Exists, where she exists and He Stalks .. hope you'll come and have network with me .
    will love to see you around ..

    She Exists...
    Aish .

  13. This sounds like such a great book. I'm a huge fan of Dawn French, but I had no idea she wrote novels as well as scripts! This goes on my TBR list right now!

  14. Great review. I loved this book and I have to say that Oscar was my favourite character and I think he totally deserves his own book!

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. @Lori: I completely agree with you! Oscar is such a smart and funny character.


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