I sometimes find myself stuck in a Book Rut where my reading list swings back and forth between fluff (Shopaholic Ties the Knot) and drudgery (E-commerce for Dummies), so when I finally get my mitts on a book that I can disappear into, I get a bit excited.

I found such a book in the debut fiction novel of Dawn French (of The Vicar of Dibley fame). The novel is, as its title suggests, a tiny bit marvellous.

Admittedly, I was about a quarter of the way into the book before my attention was piqued, but then what unfolded, at the risk of sounding like "a complete wonk", was a tapestry of beautifully and intimately crafted characters.

The book is written in diary-style from the perspective of four characters: Mum, Dad, 17-year-old daughter and younger teenager son as they muddle through what they each think are disparate coming of age experiences; from our vantage point we see the connections they themselves cannot see. Any female with a mother-daughter experience I'm convinced will identify with the characters of Mo (Mum) and Dora (daughter). Dora's character is not one that you could fully appreciate, though, if you were still 17. Ten years of ripening will afford you the perspective to appreciate her fully.

One of the pitfalls of reading a great novel is that you run the risk of looking a bit silly while reading on public transport. This book caused me to laugh out loud, and caused my eyes to water and my jaw to literally drop. Such silly expressions you will never be caught with while reading E-commerce for Dummies... as you are likely to be asleep.

This is one of the rare books that I think I'd go back to read again. It will be passed onto my friends, but with a disclaimer that I'll be needing this one back.

No comments: