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Bonkers 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 namesBut 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 miseryBONKERS 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 HawnThere'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

  • Hardcover
  • 320 pages
  • Bonkers
  • Jennifer Saunders
  • English
  • 10 September 2016
  • 9780241001561

About the Author: Jennifer Saunders

Dawn French she proceeded to write and star in their eponymous sketch show French Saunders and received international acclaim for writing and playing the lead role of Edina Monsoon in the BBC sitcom Absolutely FabulousIn her other work she has guest starred in the US made sitcoms Roseanne and Friends and won the American People's Choice Award for voicing the wicked Fairy Godmother in DreamWorks' animated Shrek 2 More recently she has written and starred in Jam Jerusalem and The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle



10 thoughts on “Bonkers

  1. Jason Koivu Jason Koivu says:

    This was like taking a moneyshot facial of closure for me and I loved it Perhaps I should explain?For years nay decades now I've been a fan of Jennifer Saunders her hit show Absolutely Fabulousand the myriad of satellite projects revolving about her especially the work she did with her comedy partner Dawn FrenchBefore that I was a fan of the '80s British tv series The Young Onesand when I realized both women had appeared in episodes of that show I wanted to know how that came about Later I would discover the show Girls On Top and wonder where that fit in it being so very much like The Young Ones and how was it Tracy Ullman was a part of that project I'd heard through the grapevine that Saunders and Young Ones star Adrian Edmondson were married Was that before during or after they met in the '80s? Did they meet in the '80s or was there prior history? These are all inconseuential uestions that only a fan would give a shit about and that's the target of Bonkers My Life in Laughs and it hits the markThe first half of the book is about those early days when Saunders was scrounging about for something to do with her life and Dawn French fell into her lap They were fortunate enough to come along at a time when a comedy troupe was in need of a female act and thus they met The Young Ones gang In these glorious for a fanboy pages Bonkers is illuminated with the help of a good many photographs many of my uestions were answered Wonderful coincidences abound Familiar faces pop up left and right Hilarious anecdotes explode across the page at regular intervals It was this first half of the book that had me ready and willing to hand over a 5 star rating and many a grand HUZZAHThe second half had me reeling that rating back in and stifling my enthusiasm But I wasn't surprised Right at the start Saunders admits she might not have the necessary baggage and skeletons in the closet that would bring her memoir up to the rollercoaster ride tear jerker level of autobios often churned out by celebrities and such these days Saunders has lived a fairly normal life all things considered She prefers a low key life Not a terrible lot of terrible things have happened to her This is not to say she hasn't had her share of trials but either they aren't that dramatic or she does an excellent job of under dramatizing them The second half of the book isn't bad it's just that it didn't have me all wrapped up in it as the first half did I was a little worried though because at one point Saunders actually begins talking about writing this book You know you've run out of things to say when things turn meta like that Thankfully she jumps off that wayward wagon before it crashes As far as autobios go this is probably only worth two or three stars at most for the writing and content I've read interesting memoirs that were dragged down by poor writing and since Saunders can string along a decent sentence this has that going for it But if you're not already a big ol' girly drooling fan of hers I'd skip this and suggest you tackle her tv performances first Guilt ridden admission This was my Homer bowling ball gift to my wife this Christmas Not that she isn't also a big Saunders fan but I bought this book for her for selfish reasons I wanted to read it

  2. Francesca Francesca says:

    For those unfamiliar with Jennifer Saunders she is a comedy legend Starting off as one half of the iconic duo of French and Saunders with fellow hilarious woman Dawn French she went on to create the eually as iconic fictional duo of Patsy and Eddy in the series Absolutely Fabulous To this day Saunders is still working with French and producing comedy skits and only last year the movie of AbFab came out These are by far what she is most famous for but that's not even mentioning all the other work she has done over the years She has been in many TV shows and has worked in many movies although the movies tend to either be bit parts or voice over workThis audiobook was wonderful to listen to As a huge Jennifer Saunders fan and of comedy in general I loved listening to her tell the story of her life I loved the fun tales of her childhood the exciting adventures of her teens and early 20's the way she stumbled into comedy her friendship with Dawn French and how it started and how it has grown over the years her friendship with Joanna Lumley and how their first meeting went the development of the French and Saunders act and Absolutely Fabulous There were so many fascinating snippets about her work life and her personal life and about her work itself She even told funny stories about her time working on Shrek 2 that's right she's the Fairy Godmother There was name dropping in the book but none of it felt unnecessary or gratuitous At no point did it feel like she was using it to show off she was just telling it like it is As someone that has worked with so many celebrities over the years it would've been nearly impossible for her to tell stories about her work and life without mentioning some namesOne of my favourite things that I discovered about her while listening to this book was the fact she is a procrastinator As someone that has spent their entire life procrastinating it gave me a lot of hope for my future She's also such a laidback person and I love it She comes across as a very happy go lucky type of person and those people are my favouritesOverall this book was informative and funny Her wit and humour shone through in every story and I thoroughly enjoyed my listening experience I know I say this with pretty much every autobiography but it remains true that I think this is a book that is much better when listened to Her tone and voice make the book better than it probably would be just in writing and makes the humour come across as it should as well There is a particular segment towards the end where she talks about yoghurt adverts and I was nearly in tears from laughing so hard

  3. Petra-Eggs Sunny Side Up Petra-Eggs Sunny Side Up says:

    The blurb says Bonkers My Life in Laughs by Jennifer Saunders the hilarious touching life story of the iconic comedian and national treasure 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 I supposed if you work for the publishing company you aren't going to write a blurb that says anything less But for me at least the book was neither hilarious nor touching It was kind of ordinary a bit boring just an ok read I don't think Jennifer who I agree is an iconic comedian and national treasure did herself justice at all Some autobiographies are full of self praise and move from the highs of achievement to the lows of funny stories where you are supposed to feel sympathy with the author through the middle ground of solid working to get where they did Jennifer is all middle ground I feel that of her two writing partners Ruby Wax could have written a hilarious biography of Jennifer and Dawn French a touching tongue in cheek one Together with additional anecdotes by Joanna Lumley and much champagne which they all seem to like they could have come with a marvellous sitcom in book form of the wonderfully funny hard working adorable Jen 35 stars for the book 5 stars for Jennifer Saunders

  4. Rebecca Rebecca says:

    Prior to reading this I had no particular feeling about Jennifer Saunders I vaguely remembered thinking she was uite funny in French Saunders years ago but that was about itUnfortunately for Saunders her book is by turns dull annoying insipid and incoherent She has an irritatin' habit of droppin' the letter g and often she seems to be writin' fer yer in her best pirate accent fer no particular reasonThis book also be stuffed with faxes from and to some of her famous pals and I'm thinkin' that's down to her bein' unable to fill her word count Many o' the faxes be also written in pirate She lost me entirely with a tale about bein' commissioned and flown over to India by Goldie Hawn to write a screen play fer her and then subseuently bein' too lazy to actually write said screen play This is followed by what else? but faxes tellin' Goldie the screen play is comin' and beggin' Goldie not to hate herJust a bit of blue sky thinking here why didn't she just write the damn thing as she agreed she would or return the deposit and apologise for wasting time?Because the other way she comes across is as moany entitled weirdly unambitious and or less completely lacking in redeemin' featuresYar mateys I be sorry I ever picked up this waste of time book and even sorrier to see the high reviews others have given it Whatever charm anyone else saw in it has utterly bypassed me

  5. Margitte Margitte says:

    Jennifer Saunders is one of those people who did not want to stand out in a crowd but did just because life was a series of accidents in which everything just fell into place for her She never wanted to display any character or personalityin public interviews red carpets you name itI'm not sure why I read this book Probably because curiosity tend to kill the cat and it was just a perfect opportunity to push my head into a dark hole and see what's in there I did not know who Jennifer Saunders was and after closing the book I wonder why this book was ever written in the first place What was the purpose of having to say nothing and then say it anyway by someone who simultaneously adored the attention while hating it with a passion as well She is shy attaching herself to her self confident outrageously funny friends to survive the limelight As an individual she prefers privacy and silence to write and perform Nevertheless Jennifer Saunders introduced Women's Lib on the comedy scene when no women graced the stages in the Seventees and Eightees Together with Dawn French and Joanna Lumley and as as a writer and performer she became a much loved and treasured icon of British television Her most successful shows were the comedies and series she wrote for herself and her friends It always worked when she could form part of a duo The first part of her memory soup had me laughing from time to time The second half was mediocre and frankly dull Name dropping galore with a few tidbits of behind the scene information about famous friends and non friends However she is too much of a good person to really indulge in the juicy scandals that might upset the rocker With that said I enjoyed her nerve to tell a story of a normal person growing up in the Mr Bean idiom of accidental hilarity throughout her personal life The title is perfect Where others tend to dish out the sorrows and tragedies of their lives in autobiographies she preferred to remember the hilariously funny side of her life Her public life Her personal life is strictly off limits although she dabble a bit in her idyllic childhood I have been told that publishers these days like a particular type of memoir They like a little bit of misery They like a ‘mis mem’ Well I’m afraid I have had very little ‘mis’ in my life and nowadays I have even less ‘mem’ So we can knock that one on the head Her father drilled into their heads that they should never take themselves too seriously although you are allowed to be serious just never become pompous It shows in her approach to her own life story as well as her work Thus her life was uncomplicated peaceful full of animals They were a close family but never talked about it That's basically how I grew up as wellWhile reading the book I watched some of her work on Youtube Absolutely Fabulous was a comedy series which she wrote for herself and Joanna Lumley Chaotic vulgar and a brilliant send up of the fashion industry and followers Satirical genius Girls On Top was just hilariously funny and so absolutely deliciously British as we all got to know the British situation comedies around the world Yes millions of people from a multitude of countries grew up with it If you enjoyed Faulty Towersan old series from 1975 to 1979 you will love this series from the 2005Here is a list of all her work as writer and comedianhttpswwwtvguidecomcelebritiesjI cannot say I adored the experience but both the videos and the book plunged me into another world of light and laughter It is rare nowadays to read something a normal person dares to write Her children might appreciate this book for sure Myself and everyone who remembers the Seventies and Eighties might stake a claim to the same memories with a big smile and perhaps a few wicket giggles I am at the age when mostly what I do is stretch and take glucosamine and complain about the noise my joints make as I walk upstairs It's so loud I sometimes have to stop because I think someone is following me She appreciated the era in which life was simple It was the eighties We had our own shows got married had children wore shoulder pads hung out with Bananarama and conseuently got fairly drunk on occasion We wore baggy shirts buttoned up to the neck and high waisted jeans We discovered the Groucho Club and could actually afford the drinks We took part in the Secret Policeman’s Ball and hung out with the Pythons This was in the days before celebrities had been invented people just did their jobs and got cabs home No hangers on No PRsJust look at Band Aid Band Aid You wouldn’t be able to do that now Bob Geldof just rang up a bunch of his friends asked them to sing a song for starving Ethiopians they said yes put on a leather jacket jumped in their cars went to the studio or Wembley had a few drinks danced around a bit in the sunshine had a few drinks had a laugh and then drove themselves home But now can you imagine? It would take about 4 million people about 4 million years to plan and there would be absurd amounts of entourages and dressing rooms and Tweeting Not in the eighties In the eighties life was bloody great Also bear in mind that Brits have a different approach to humor than Americans Ricky Gervais sums it up in an article by saying It’s often dangerous to generalize but under threat I would say that Americans are “down the line” They don’t hide their hopes and fears They applaud ambition and openly reward success Brits are comfortable with life’s losers We embrace the underdog until it’s no longer the underdog We like to bring authority down a peg or two Just for the hell of it Americans say “have a nice day” whether they mean it or not Brits are terrified to say this We tell ourselves it’s because we don’t want to sound insincere but I think it might be for the opposite reason We don’t want to celebrate anything too soon Failure and disappointment lurk around every corner This is due to our upbringing Americans are brought up to believe they can be the next president of the United States Brits are told “It won’t happen for you”This can sometimes be perceived as nasty if the recipients aren’t used to it It isn’t It’s play fighting It’s almost a sign of affection if we like you and ego bursting if we don’t You just have to know which one it is As for cynicism I don’t care for it much I’m a romantic From The Office and Extras to The Invention Of Lying and Cemetery Junction goodness and sweetness honour and truth love and friendship always triumphFor me humanity is kingOh and for the record I’d rather a waiter say “Have a nice day” and not mean it than ignore me and mean itWe once was a British colony and we all got to love the British humor It might explain my own infatuation with the underdogs of life I'm always rooting for them Oh hurting someone's sensibilities is so off the table You either can take it or you can't get over yourself That's the kind of humor I truly adore British by design Jennifer Saunders ain't no underdog but she also blew a horn for them all through her work I absolutely love and appreciate thatSo four stars it is Just for memory's sake

  6. Gemma ♕ antari.and.the.books Gemma ♕ antari.and.the.books says:

    Very enjoyable listen So glad I chose to read it via audible because Jennifer Saunders’ narration really does bring this book to life There is so much in this book I didn’t know but my favourite parts were when she was taking about her friendships especially those with Dawn French and Joanna Lumley Wonderful stories all round Jennifer Saunders is so very relatable

  7. V. Briceland V. Briceland says:

    Jennifer Saunders half of the French and Saunders comedy team and creator of the Absolutely Fabulous TV series is a deeply private person with a vast English reserve Yes it's difficult to believe that the woman who spent most of her Ab Fab screen time outrageously drunk and arse over knickers is truly shy to the point she's virtually unable to discuss her personal life in an autobiography—which by its very nature is a deeply personal document Her reticence and hesitation to delve too deeply into her own personal history create a bit of an odd duck of a book which while not particularly illuminating is still a fun readSaunders is willing to share safe talk show friendly anecdotes about how she met Dawn French the creation of several but not all of her comedy projects her trips abroad She's utterly unwilling to talk about her wooing of and subseuent marriage to Adrian Edmondson or to her recent three year battle with breast cancer as she's obviously comfortable with light cocktail chatter in the guise of a memoirBut that's okay As she points out after an incident in which she confronts paparazzi who invade her family's privacy deep in the rural solitude where they've made a home Saunders never chased the spotlight or angled for red carpet appearances She merely wished to be left alone to write and act and create her much loved comedies Let's be grateful to those have given her imagination free reign for the last thirty years even if her characters are infinitely outrageous than their originator and her not tell much biography

  8. Bettie Bettie says:

    view spoiler Bettie's Books hide spoiler

  9. Laura Laura says:

    From BBC radio 4 Book of the weekAward winning comedian Jennifer Saunders reads her funny honest and touching memoirJennifer Saunders has been making us laugh for three decades and is best known for the long running sketch show French and Saunders which she co wrote and starred in with her comedy partner Dawn French Later she created the worldwide hit series Absolutely Fabulous in which she also played champagne swilling Edina Monsoon She has won three BAFTAs including the Bafta Fellowship an International Emmy a British Comedy Award a Rose d'Or two Writers' Guild Awards and a People's Choice AwardAbridged by Richard HamiltonProduced by Elizabeth Allardhttpswwwbbccoukprogrammesb03d

  10. Holly Holly says:

    June has been a shit month for me First on June 9th my comic hero Rik Mayall passed away Then two days later my Nan so I was in need of some serious laughs to pull me from the depths of despairI started watching The Young Ones again and then mum bought me this book in keeping with the theme Thanks mum This was a blast I've always liked Jennifer Saunders but knew little about her away from Ab Fab and her on screen persona I was excited to discover only earlier this year that she is married to Ade Edmondson Vyvyan from The Young Ones and has been since '85 so I knew immediately that I'd have to like her outside of her career too This autobiography is superb with none of the pomposity and exclusion you get with usual celeb bio reads My favourite sections are the throw backs to her Comic Strip days with The Young Ones boys and co and what it was like being a comedian in the 70s 80s I envy that lifestyle intensely it must've been wonderful performing with such a tight talented groupSaunders is genuinely witty and crams her fun and colourful life story with awesome anecdotes and insights and never EVER stops to feel sorry for herself when things go wrong which is something I admire as I'd imagine it would be tempting to evoke sympathy in the usual autobiography format esp Jen who had cancerHer freuent forays into procrastination are hilariously evident in her tendency to get distracted and jump between events in the book but her jumbled storytelling only enhances the lively readSeeing as I devoured this book in two days It's a must read For die hard fans of Saunders or just fans of British comedy this is a gorgeous funny read get it now

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