I picked up Bonkers on a three-for-two offer in Aberdeen when coming back from The Dark Expedition. I can’t claim to have seen every episode of Ab Fab or French & Saunders, or anywhere near, but you gotta love Jennifer Saunders anyway, and I was sold on the number of positive blurbs about how funny the book is. Well, as usual, the blurbs let me down. Not that the book is NOT funny, but it’s not “Unputdownable, a hoot” either. Yes, Guardian, I’m looking at you.
However, it’s eminently readable. It’s quite fascinating how Saunders sort of just ended up in comedy by accident, and how she pulled Dawn French (who wanted to teach acting, and actually had a “real job” as a teacher) with her (and thank goodness for that, what would the world be like without Dawn French on the stage?). There are funny bits and there are poignant bits. I guess my main gripe, and with hindsight I should have predicted I’d feel this way, is that it’s still a “celebrity (auto)biography”, and, well, I don’t read those. The best parts of Bonkers are the parts that talk about Saunders’ work, how she and Dawn French developed sketches, for example, or how the characters of Ab Fab fell into place. The more personal bits are no less well written, mind you, it just feels slightly too close to reading Hello (or Se og hør). I don’t know if I’m making sense at all, so I’ll stop.
The conclusion, I guess, is that if you DO like reading the authobiographies of contemporary, famous people, this is a pretty good one. I can reccommend it. If, like me, you have an irrational fear of finding people interesting just because they are famous, then perhaps you should go read a good novel instead.