Author: Jennifer Saunders
Narrator: Jennifer Saunders
Publisher: Penguin Books Limited
Categories: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Audiobook, 10/10
Running Time: 8 hours and 10 minutes
Released: 10 October 2013
Listened to: 9 December 2013 - 3 January 2014
Trivia Tidbit: Jennifer Saunders loves cars and driving, and states in her book that if she had done another lap on Top Gear's 'Star in a Reasonably Priced Car' segment when offered, she believes she would have beaten Simon Cowell (at 1:46.1 Saunders is 5th on the leaderboard behind Cowell's 4th-placed 1:45.9).
Full Disclosure: Purchased
I've always found Jennifer Saunders' comedy hilarious, so I started listening to Bonkers with high expectations and was not disappointed. This book is a delight. I expect it would be a wonderful read, but to have Jennifer Saunders read it to me was a gift. As I drove to and from work she would speak conspiratorially about her parents, siblings, upbringing, education, agent, career, friends, husband, daughters and adventures. She is down-to-earth, funny (of course), humble and appreciative of the life that 'playing' has afforded her. Though 'humble' and 'appreciative' could be tremendously annoying in someone who was insincere, this is not the impression that Saunders gives in her book. She admits to loving the perks of showbiz life (free flights, great parking spaces at the BBC, press junkets in a cabana in the south of France) while hating the personal spotlight (red carpets, public speaking, press junkets in a cabana in the south of France).
Her matter-of-fact response to being diagnosed with breast cancer is typical of the way she describes many of the events in her life. It happened, she dealt with it, she is grateful for the treatment and support, she has moved on. More telling, and perhaps unintentionally funnier, is the story of the holiday she & husband Ade took in the Italian lake region following her treatment. Suffering depression, a typical side effect of post-cancer medication, nothing that Ade had booked was acceptable. 'Evil Jennifer' emerged, and took some time to be tamed. Depression is a serious and very unfunny illness, but Jennifer and I laughed together in the car as she remembered and I imagined Ade's exasperation at every turn on that holiday.
Yes, there is name-dropping and occasional mentions of royalty, as requested by her publishers, but there is far more than this. This memoir seems to me to be an accurate reflection of a life well-lived thus far. I encourage you to read it, but further recommend you have Jennifer read it to you. It's wonderful.