Bonkers, by Jennifer Saunders
Despite the title of this memoir, the entertainer Jennifer Saunders comes across as bracingly sane. Her life has been remarkably stable: happy childhood; long marriage to fellow comic Adrian Edmondson, with whom she has three daughters and a grandson; friendships that have lasted decades, including one with her creative partner, Dawn French. Saunders has wowed on stage and television with hits such as French & Saunders and Absolutely Fabulous. Oh, and her book is well written. Such is Saunders’s charm that I finished her book wishing she was my friend, neighbour or mother. Naturally, she’s very funny and, crucially, never smug. She fills us in on both professional highs (dreaming up Edina for Ab Fab) and lows (writing a never-filmed screenplay). She rants about craven BBC bureaucrats and describes her treatment for breast cancer. All writers will nod when Saunders tries to grind out this book by retreating to a cottage. The distractions she finds are ingenious, starting with dead flies.