Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Oh Dear Sylvia-Dawn French

Oh Dear Sylvia

Dawn French

Harper, Jun 1 2013, $24.99

ISBN: 9780718156060

After suffering a traumatic head injury from a fall off a balcony, comatose Silvia Shute is on life support. Once the plug is pulled, she will die. Several people visit Silvia while she lies in a dead state except for the machine.

Her ex-husband Ed sits with her in her hospital bed recalling how Silvia was so full of life and did whatever she wanted. Her older sister Jo wonders whether Silvia will remember what happened once she awakens as no one except God knows, but believes her lifeless sibling will recall Jo never giving up on her. Her Jamaican nurse Winnie washes the comatose patient as she still thinks there is life in Silvia though she expects everyone else to pull the plug and go on with their lives. Tia the housekeeper visits Mrs. Shute updating her on her family. Her partner, the Mighty Cat, is a doctor who insists she is the only one who knows the real Silvia. Finally there is her daughter Cassandra who hesitates seeing her mom who she hates after being tossed out on the street when she was sixteen and pregnant; she wishes her brother the marine was here to hold her.

Oh Dear Silvia is a fascinating 360 degrees character study that rotates perspective between the visitors. Readers obtain a complete picture of Silvia and her impact on others as some of the reminiscence paints her as cruel and uncaring, and other times as a nurturing friend. In other words, Silvia is a complex convoluted human.

Harriet Klausner

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