Bonkers: My Life in Laughs


‘As the steady march of time takes its toll on my memory and the vultures circle, I thought I should have a stab at recollecting how it all happened. . .’

Jennifer Saunders’ brilliant comic creations have brought joy to millions for three decades. From Comic Strip to Comic Relief, from Bolly-swilling Edina in Absolutely Fabulous to Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia, her characters are household names.

But it’s Jennifer herself who has a place in all our hearts. This is her funny, touching and disarmingly honest memoir, filled with stories of friends, laughter and occasional heartache – but never misery.

From her childhood on RAF bases, where her father was a pilot, to her life-changing encounter with a young Dawn French, on to success and family, the book charts her extraordinary story, including the slip ups and battles along the way.

Prepare to chuckle, cry, and whoop with delight.

My opinion: I am a sucker for a good celeb autobiography, mainly if they have comedy links – I’m not really interested in the lives of reality “stars”. When I spotted Jennifer Saunders’ autobiography I was really tempted to give it a go, and I bought it after seeing her on Alan Carr’s Chatty Man as she seemed so down to earth and lovely.

The book takes us right through Jennifer’s life, from childhood to today, with special emphasis on how she became a comedienne, her TV and film career, and more recently, her experiences of breast cancer. If I’m honest, when I started, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this autobiography, but was totally hooked within pages. Jennifer is witty, funny and very honest in what she describes from her life. I loved her writing style and found it so easy to read.

Jennifer has undoubtedly had an amazing life, but seems very modest about it and I think she seems a genuinely lovely person. After reading autobiographies of more modern comedians and their experiences, it was fascinating to read about the career of one of the UK’s greatest comediennes in her rise to fame in the 80s and 90s and the differences in the media requirements etc. I also loved reading Jennifer’s anecdotes of her adventures with famous faces such as Ruby Wax, Goldie Hawn, husband Ade Edmondson and of course, Dawn French and Joanna Lumley.

A great, fun read and I’d recommend it for anyone who fancies to delve into the world of a comedienne and take a break from reading fiction.

My rating: An Absolutely Fabulous five stars!