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
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"Trotted along ok but not remarkable"
Jennifer Saunders seemed reluctant to reveal too much about herself and glossed over much of her life. It was more a series of anecdotes, which is fine but I don't feel I know her any better after listening to this.
It is the first I've listened to.
The character voices (particularly Joanna Lumley) were excellent as expected. Autobiographies are always enhanced read by the author.
I really wanted to love this book as I adore Jennifer Saunders but I was so let down. The chapters describing the making of Ab Fab were great but the rest was all just a bit dull. She spent rather too much time gloating over all of the freebies she was given.Having listened avidly to Miranda and Michael McIntryre and laughed until I cried with both of them my expectations were high. Such a shame.
"Most enjoyable autobiography"
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.
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.
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.
"Does what it says on the tin (cover)"
The book is fun. Jennifer Saunders manages to stay away from a chronicle style, and instead starts each section with a short statement about where she is and why. Its a bit different and sets the scene well.
Sometimes JS got a bit excited and while entertaining the rants sometimes got a bit "loud"!
I am new to biographies and enjoyed this one - I will certainly be reading more.
"Rather a complicated story for an audiobook"
Jennifer reads her work well and no one else should be allowed to read it but she talks very fast, the sentences are often long and the 'story' jumps backwards and forwards in time a lot.
It is possibly better read than listened to so you can go back and double check things!
"Listenable.... but not what I hoped for!"
It is definitely worth a listen, it may be that Jennifers voice is so familiar to us that it simply makes for 'easy listening'.... it has its moments of comedy and sadness, but no mind blowing celebrity secrets here I'm afraid!
Obviously you can't change the story, its an account of Jennifer's life, however I did feel she was on the fence a lot of the time.... I do like to hear peoples real views on other public figure and incidents. However, Jennifer's choice not to write a headline grabbing, celeb slandering autobiography is refreshing!
"Awesome narration, Up and down story."
Yes, i did enjoy the majority and at times i was thinking how great it was, around half way i felt there were lots of flat parts that were so dull i was tempted to skip. I detest when people read verbatum from diaries, it screams desperation for word count.
Regarding the author, my starting point was indifferent being a bit of an abfab fan as a kid but not knowing that much of her work. I grew to quite liking her and thinking i must seek some of her other shows out, by the second half i was beggining to waiver and by the end i found the author to be just irritating and quite proud of her laziness.
My biggest dissapointment was regarding "Spice", i listened to all the authors great achievments but when it came to this catastrophe we were informed it was the presses fault and would likely be massive one day. A biography should be honest, this in my opinion was someone who hadnt dealt with an issue and certainly couldnt be honest with the people paying to hear the truth.
I would reccomend to Saunders fans and Biography fans generally, Its 50% very good with a large dose of tedium and enough infuriating drivel to pull the average down.
The goldie Hawn story, as i thought it would have a great ending. It didnt.
Hmmmmmm, in hindsight i wish id had the nerve to skip parts.
Quite good insights into commisioning procedures that ive never heard before, Abfab break is quite interesting how it got a chance.
"The opposite of bonkers: a clever, inspiring lady!"
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!
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.
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.
"laugh a minute"
"brave jen" is very funny and tells you about her life without being too indiscreet which i did enjoy. laughed whilst at work always a great look when a mental health nurse x
Wonderful book, written and read by a hilarious woman. Written with her brand of comedy, with the odd sad story as well. Would recommend in a second! 5* Easily!
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