A Tiny Bit Marvellous by Dawn French
This first novel by Dawn French is told through the eyes of a mother and her two teenage children. There's seventeen-year-old Dora, a stroppy teenager who's just come out of her first relationship (it lasted a whole six weeks) and who's longing to escape to university; her long-suffering mother, Mo, a child psychiatrist who's baffled by the antagonist behaviour of her children; and sixteen-year-old Peter, who prefers to be known as Oscar due to his obsession with Oscar Wilde.
Dawn's wonderful comic voice sings from the pages and those fans of hers who have loved her in anything from French and Saunders to The Vicar of Dibley will not be disappointed. Written in diary form by 3 members of the Battle family as they approach daughter Dora's 18th Birthday (and her audition for the X-factor). Mum, Mo Battle, is a child psychologist approaching 50 with a fear of turning into her own mother (don't we all?) and not a clue about what her teenage children think or are actually up to. Daughter Dora thinks she should be a pop star (hence the X- factor audition), hates her mum (no really hates her), wears shockingly inappropriate clothing and swears like a trooper. Dad, Oscar, (real name Peter but won't answer to that), is desperate for a real smoking jacket and a cravat but can't find either in Berkshire – models himself on Stephen Fry. It is laugh out loud and thoroughly enjoyable.
Written in diary format, with each chapter narrated by a different voice, this is a hilarious, sharp and utterly compelling novel about the ups and down of family, sibling rivalry and growing up. With each chapter told from the point of view of one character, Dawn French's witty and engaging novel offers an honest and insightful account into the relationships between children and parents.