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Bonkers: My Life in Laughs | [Jennifer Saunders]

Bonkers: My Life in Laughs

Jennifer Saunders' comic creations have brought joy to millions. From Comic Strip to Comic Relief, from Bolly-swilling Edina in Ab Fab to her takes on Madonna or Mamma Mia, her characters are household names. But it's Jennifer herself who has a place in all our hearts. This is her funny, moving, and frankly bonkers memoir, filled with laughter, friends, and occasional heartache - but never misery. Bonkers is full of riotous adventures.
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Publisher's Summary

Jennifer Saunders' comic creations have brought joy to millions. From Comic Strip to Comic Relief, from Bolly-swilling Edina in Ab Fab to her takes on Madonna or Mamma Mia, her characters are household names. But it's Jennifer herself who has a place in all our hearts. This is her funny, moving, and frankly bonkers memoir, filled with laughter, friends, and occasional heartache - but never misery.

Bonkers is full of riotous adventures: accidentally enrolling on a teacher training course with a young Dawn French, bluffing her way to each BBC series, shooting Lulu, trading wild faxes with Joanna Lumley, touring India with Ruby Wax and Goldie Hawn. There's cancer, too, when she becomes 'Brave Jen'. But her biggest battle is with the bane of her life: the Laws of Procrastination. As she admits, "There has never been a Plan. Everything has been fairly random, happened by accident or just fallen into place. I'm off now, to do some sweeping..." Prepare to chuckle, whoop, and go bonkers.

©2013 Jennifer Saunders (P)2013 Penguin Books Limited

What Members Say

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  •  
    Catheryn 07-07-14
    Catheryn 07-07-14 Member Since 2013
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    "This is fabulous, absolutely!"
    What made the experience of listening to Bonkers the most enjoyable?

    The honest, interesting and kind reflections which comprise this autobiography.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Her decision to get a dog.


    Any additional comments?

    This is the best autobiography I have experienced in a long while. She writes with humility, honesty and humour and presents her accounts without evident regard to audience approval. This book is very well written and engaging. Her respect for her colleagues and for her readers is evident. I was disappointed when the book finished as I felt I wanted to listen to more of her stories about her interesting and successful career.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia Karratha, Australia 03-05-14
    Julia Karratha, Australia 03-05-14
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    "Brilliant!"
    Where does Bonkers rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    A great listen, one of the best.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Bonkers?

    When Jennifer reads the faxes sent from Joanna Lumley. I honestly cried laughing.


    What about Jennifer Saunders’s performance did you like?

    This book was made brilliant by Jennifer being the narrator. Her style of delivery would have been lost if I'd just read the book. Her ability to put the character rightin your ears was marvellous.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Made me laugh A LOT. I also wept a tear or two when she recounted her experiences with breast cancer. It was obvious that despite her "putting a brave face on it" that it was a horrid time for her but she came through with love and laughter.


    Any additional comments?

    This book will cheer you. I ended up driving 800 kilometres over two days so that I could listen to this book. I had a marvellous time....thank you Ms Saunders!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barboza Muscat, Oman 01-26-14
    Barboza Muscat, Oman 01-26-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Not my cup of tea..."

    Ive recently been hearing a lot of the autobiographies of stand up comedians like Billy Crystal and Michael Macintyre though Im not very familiar with their work. I like listening to their take of life. They seem to see the lighter side of life. I also felt their experiences to be universal. However with Jennifer Saunders I just could not identify with any of her experiences. I guess a working knowledge of her work or being British would help.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-3 of 3 results
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  • Sandra
    Sleaford, United Kingdom
    10/16/13
    Overall
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    Story
    "Absolutely Fabulous!!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Bonkers to be better than the print version?

    The fact that Jennifer reads it herself gives it an excellent extra dimension.
    Thoroughly enjoyable - lots of laughs and poignant moments.
    A really excellent listen.


    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Bookie
    UK
    10/20/13
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    "Jennifer Saunders is comedy genius"
    If you could sum up Bonkers in three words, what would they be?

    Laugh out loud funny, genuinely moving and unexpectedly warm. Loved it immensely.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Bonkers?

    There are many but I loved the early account of racing around London with friend JoBo. The basis of more than one of her comedy sketches were seeded there!


    Have you listened to any of Jennifer Saunders’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Jennifer's narration added to the comedy a number of times.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Funny, warm and moving.


    Any additional comments?

    Self deprecating and honest.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Mark Holmes
    Shipley, United Kingdom
    11/13/13
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    "Ab Fab"
    What made the experience of listening to Bonkers the most enjoyable?

    'Bonkers' exemplifies the reason why I love listening to authors reading their autobiographies; more specifically, Comedians. Because she's feeling the emotion of the event she's describing and because she possesses great comic timing, the overall effect is immeasurably better than if read by a hired actor.

    It goes without saying that the audiobook is, at times, embarrassingly laugh-out-load funny ;walking down the street hooting to yourself is, of course, a sign of madness. Be prepared to get funny looks if you're listening to this in public.

    Brilliant!


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Paula
    HEXHAM, United Kingdom
    11/14/13
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    "Blissfully Bonkers"
    Where does Bonkers rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This has to be in my top five audiobooks. I'm sure that reading the book will be enjoyable but listening to it read by the authoress herself adds an extra dimension. I loved it from beginning to end and felt that eight hours just zipped by. I felt as though I were listening to one of my best friends telling me stories about all the funny and sad things that have happened to her and mimicking all the the other people who were involved. Jennifer appears to be a truly lovely person with no pretension and a fantastic sense of humour. I laughed out loud through every page. I was gutted when I got to the end but it's really good enough to listen to again - and again!


    What about Jennifer Saunders’s performance did you like?

    Her reading of the book raised the enjoyment and brought the characters to life.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Sue Bayliss
    London, England United Kingdom
    11/8/13
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    "I LOVED this audiobook, get it now."

    I loved this audiobook. It is the most entertaining audiobook I have listen too. I will freely admit I am a massive French and Saunders and Ab Fab fan. As I was listening, I found myself smiling and even laughing. At one point the girl sitting next to me on the bus got up and sat somewhere else. Whoops!

    The book is very entertaining and I liked the fact she also expressed opinions on certain subjects too. It could have been a very entertaining book of various stories but it is nice learn someones point of view too. The book covers everything from the early days to the many BBC series to Ab Fab and on to her writing Viva Forever and of course her experience with cancer. There are a lot of funny stories in the book, as you would expect but they are very well told by Jennifer Saunders. The narration was hilarious. I personally like it and regardless of opinions of Jennifer Saunders you understand how much she likes to make people laugh. I like the fact she explained her comedy process to you.

    I want to point out some of the funny bits, but that would spoil it. I can't say how much I enjoyed this and I didn't want it to end. I can not express strongly enough how good this was. I recommend getting it....now. Don't think about it, get it and listen to it and get plunged into the very funny world of Jennifer Saunders.

    One last thing, thanks to Claire Balding......listen and find out why!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Ann
    Newcastle, England
    11/17/13
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    "Great!"
    What made the experience of listening to Bonkers the most enjoyable?

    Jennifer Saunders reading it herself.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Bonkers?

    Her account of coping with treatment for breast cancer.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I could have listened to it in one sitting without becoming bored, but its a long book!


    Any additional comments?

    I went for this audiobook in response to the very good reviews left by others, combined with an exert I heard on BBC radio 4. They made me reconsider my initial view - that I wouldn't like it. Jennifer's humour is something that has usually only worked for me in small doses. Her autobiography however, entertained me throughout. It was (as all her work) intelligently written and also beautifully read. It was laugh out loud funny in places and also dealt with some very serious issues with a distinctly British underpinning of dark humour without detracting from the nature of the issues. An excellent read/listen.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • PinkMilk
    London
    11/6/13
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    "Most enjoyable autobiography"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have never listened to an autobiography that I couldn't well, not stop listen to. This one was interesting, funny, emotional.... More than once I also thought that I felt sorry for all my friends that still only read books because they will miss out on Jennifers brilliant narration.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Bonkers?

    Jennifer Saunders has always been around. I've loved her in the Comic Strip and in French and Saunders and of course in Ab Fab. Her account of her live made me more than once chuckle, but I also loved realising that she used to live literally around the corner from me over Luigi's delicatessen - a place a walk past every day and now look at with different eyes. And she used to live in Glebe Place. I work just down the road from there.
    But the thing I really associated with was when she recounted her experiences with depression which strangely happened after coming through breast cancer. The optimism that shines through all of her life including the episode with cancer and the contrast to the period of the depression in which she describes herself as "evil" Jennifer were very raw and made a big impact on me personally.


    Any additional comments?

    I could happily be listening to Jennifer Saunders' life for hour after hour. Her warmth and humour come through with every sentence of her autobiography. What a wonderful life she is living.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • hmsweeney
    Wallasey, United Kingdom
    11/4/13
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    "I loved this book.......laugh out loud"
    What did you like most about Bonkers?

    Jennifer Saunders reading her own book worked so well.... I loved the footnotes and rants.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I listened to this went out running and couldn't wait to continue the story. I liked the conversational style and how it shifted around different time zones


    Which character – as performed by Jennifer Saunders – was your favourite?

    Loved the fax conversations with "Jack" and Betty Jackson


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Made me laugh.....loved the bit when Jennifer says that when her and Aide aren't with Freddie, they are looking at pictures of him!!! Brought a tear to my eye at the end when she thanks those around her.


    Any additional comments?

    An uplifting, funny and hugely enjoyable read.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mandy
    Hampshire, United Kingdom
    12/11/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Down-to-earth Bonkers"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Bonkers to be better than the print version?

    The audio edition has the benefit of being read by Jennifer Saunders - it is as if she is talking to us "dear readers". Loved that personal touch.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the personal, down-to-earth, self-effacing attitude of Jennifer. She is the first to laugh at herself and take you along with her.


    Which character – as performed by Jennifer Saunders – was your favourite?

    Giggle - is this a trick question?


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I listened to this book on the way to work over several sittings and I looked forward to the journey because of it. At one point I laughed out loud on the bus and turned heads - not in a good way you understand but a 'batty-odd-person' way. But it makes me smile just to think of it.


    Any additional comments?

    This is not one of those 'ghost-written' biographies. Oh no - this is Jennifer Saunders telling us about herself - well what she can remember that is. It is both personal and profound, witty and laugh-out-loud funny.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • M. M. Boran
    Galway, Ireland
    12/13/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The opposite of bonkers: a clever, inspiring lady!"
    Would you listen to Bonkers again? Why?

    I've listened to this book twice. Jennifer Saunders' narration is so engaging that I want to revisit all the best and most interesting moments of her life again. She references lots of TV shows and other comics so it's inspired me to get Rik Mayall and Dawn French's books too. Brilliant stuff!


    What other book might you compare Bonkers to, and why?

    I'm a fan of autobiographies of British and American comedians. I recently read Tina Fey's Bossypants and Sarah Silverman's The Bedwetter. Bonkers was just as enjoyable but, for me, even more so because I love Jennifer Saunders' unique sense of humour, pragmatism and honesty.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    There's the period of her life where she's a poor student, living in a crumbling old house in London. She convinces Dawn French to form a comedy duo with her and the story of their clueless entry to the stand-up scene, ensuing learning curve and eventual fame is just wonderful.I especially like the bit where she excitedly lends comedian Robin Williams her t-shirt.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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